The Influence of Traditional Western Law on the Development of Nsw and the Australian Legal System

Topics: Law, Common law, Australia Pages: 4 (1671 words) Published: May 31, 2013
Intro to Law Assessment 1 – Essay 35%
To what extent did the concepts and institutions of the Western legal tradition influence the colony of New South Wales and, ultimately, the development of the Australian legal system?

The concepts and institutions of the Western legal tradition, namely common and statute law, the court system and the Bill of Rights, influenced the colony of New South Wales, and ultimately, the development of the Australian legal system to a great extent. Although the concepts and institutions of the Western legal tradition continue to influence New South Wales and the Australian legal system, the extent to which it does influence has decreased over time. The concepts and institutions of the Western legal tradition, as embodied by the British legal system, were directly appropriated in the New South Wales colony from 1788 with the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor and representative of the British parliament. However, for the first 143 years, particularly as William Blackstone stated “colonists carry with them only so much of the English law, as is applicable to their own situation and the condition of an infant colony.” (Blackstone) In correlation with this statement, all statute and common law, which was applicable to Australia, would apply (Vines p.174). The Charter of Justice (1787), the Second Charter of Justice (1814) and the Third Charter of Justice (1823) established colonial courts with civil and criminal jurisdiction, a Supreme Court with civil jurisdiction and a rudimentary subordinate structure and a comprehensive court system with both civil and criminal jurisdiction (power point). The structure of these courts were based on existing imperial courts, however “these were more like military tribunals than English courts of law… justice was often arbitrary because there was no trial by jury [and] those who sat in judgments were generally naval or marine officers who had little practical knowledge of the...
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