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Macquarie Law School

Emeritus Professor Bruce Kercher

BA, LLB (Sydney), LLM (University of New South Wales), PhD (Macquarie University)


Emeritus Professor of Law, joined the staff of Macquarie University School of Law in 1975.

Thesis topics

"Debt Collection Outside the judicial System" (LLM)

"The Development of Law in the New South Wales Court of Civil Jurisdiction, 1788-1814" (PhD).

Research Interests

Legal history, particularly the law of colonial Australia.


  • Remedies (with Michael Noone) 1st edition, 1983; 2nd edition, 1990.
  • Remedies: Commentary and Materials (with M Tilbury and M Noone) 1st edition, 1988; 2nd edition, 1993; 3rd edition, 2000.
  • Australian Debt Recovery Law 1st edition, 1990; 2nd edition, 2002 (under title Consumer Debt Recovery Law (with Richard Brading and Betty Weule))
  • An Unruly Child: a History of Law in Australia 1995
  • Debt, Seduction and Other Disasters: the Birth of Civil Law in Convict New South Wales 1996
  • Dowling's Select Cases, 1828 to 1844: Decisions of the Supreme Court of NSW (with Tim Castle) 2005
  • Outsiders: Tales from the Supreme Court of NSW, 1824 to 1836 2006
  • The Kercher Reports: Decisions of the NSW Superior Courts, 1788-1827 (with Brent Salter) 2009

Current Research

Unearthing records of the pre-1900 superior courts of New South Wales and Tasmania. This project commenced in 1996, with the assistance of an Australian Research Council grant and grants by Macquarie University and the University of Tasmania. The aims are to create a database of the unpublished decisions of colonial superior courts, to publish the most legally or socially significant of them, and to comment on the development of judge-made law in these years.  Initial publication will be on the internet.  It has commenced with the cases from 1824: and

There is a copy of an early speech about this project online. Correspondence on this research would be very welcome.

In 2000, I delivered the Alex Castles Lecture on Legal History, which is also online.

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