Skip to Content

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899


This site was created to publish many of the hidden court records of the superior courts  of New South Wales.  By superior courts, we mean those of the highest jurisdiction in the colony, including the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction (1788-1824), Court of Civil Jurisdiction (1788-1814), and both courts called the Supreme Court (1815-1824, and 1824 to the present). We have another page which contains reports of coronial inquests in New South Wales.

Since work began on this site in 1996, we have expanded the publication of hidden colonial case records to a number of other jurisdictions, which are listed on a separate page. This includes Privy Council appeals from the Australian colonies up to 1850. A separate team in New Zealand has also published records of over a thousand of its Lost Cases.

NEWS (past news items)

June 2012. After the unexpected change of address of this and related Colonial Cases sites, it has taken some time to get back online. I am now able to edit this site once again.

In the meantime, we have completed the third volume of colonial law reports for New South Wales, which will be published by the Forbes Society for Australian Legal History in conjunction with Federation Press, that great friend of Australian legal history. The other major change in the last 12 months has been the award of a grant to a team of legal historians, headed by Austlii. Details of the plan for a Library of Australian Legal History are available at one of Austlii's web pages. The principal aim is digital publication of all pre-1950 law reports and statutes across Australia. There is, however, some attention being paid to newspaper and archival accounts of cases which did not reach the law reports. At present, the team is concentrating on unpublished cases of South Australia and Western Australia. Over 1000 South Australian cases will be placed online at the Austlii website in the next couple of months.

As usual, I am keen to receive information about broken links, and comments on the uses to which this site is being put.

Bruce Kercher

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University