Excursions in the Law: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Excursions in the Law

1st Edition

By Peter Heerey

Federation Press

240 pages

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In 40 years as a barrister and judge Peter Heerey AM QC has observed and sometimes taken part in memorable legal events.

This work is partly a collection of recollections; a murder trial, a Privy Council appeal, the leading High Court decision on the liability for barristers’ negligence and the cause célèbre of Professor Orr and his dismissal by the University of Tasmania.

There are also studies of notable historical and legal figures: Andrew Inglis Clark, Sir Owen Dixon, Abraham Lincoln, Justice Antonin Scalia and others as well as some of his professional colleagues.

From time to time Peter’s work has included periods in other lands: the American South, Quebec, Vanuatu and Ireland. Vivid impressions of their historical backgrounds and some current personalities are recorded.

Law is looked at from a literary perspective. There are discussions of the commercial and litigious issues in The Merchant of Venice, post modernist analysis of legal issues and storytelling in the law.

Table of Contents


Andrew Inglis Clark: The Man and his Legacy

Andrew Inglis Clark and Cricket

The Supreme Court of Tasmania: Its First Century 1824-1924

The Orr Case Revisited

Hobart – A Guide for Innocent Mainlanders


The Victorian Bar: Some History and a Little Lore

Memories of the Battle of Hastings

The Judicial Herd: Seduced by Suave Glittering Phrases?

A Question of Judgment

Judges at Work

A Towering Figure of the Law

Counsel’s Baggage

Judgment Writing

The Ballad of Briginshaw

Chettyar’s Case

Down with Defamation!

Jeff Sher’s Farewell

Ode to His Honour Judge Ross

Ode to His Honour Judge Gebhardt


A Last Hurrah – Privy Council Days

Law in Vanuatu

Canada and Quebec

The Traveller’s Return

Away Down South in Dixie

The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Justice Antonin Scalia

Abraham Lincoln – Patent Lawyer

How Judges Think

A Night at the King’s Inns

An Officer and a Spy


The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act

Truth, Lies and Stereotype: Stories of Mary and Louis

Storytelling, Postmodernism and the Law

Aesthetics, Culture, and the Whole Damn Thing

Rediscovering Rhetoric


Bracket (“Bracket”) Creep

Colonising Language

Historical Dating


About the Author

The Honourable Peter Heerey AM QC was born in Hobart, Tasmania. After graduating from the University of Tasmania and working as a solicitor he practised for 23 years at the Victorian Bar, being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985. He sat for 19 years as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, including duty as President of the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal and a Deputy President of the Australian Competition Tribunal. His work on the Federal Court mainly involved intellectual property, competition law, administrative law and tax.

Since retiring in 2009 he has served as Chair of the Australian Electoral Commission and returned to the Bar specialising in advice, arbitration and mediation.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology