Old Law, New Law: A Second Australian Legal Miscellany, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Old Law, New Law

A Second Australian Legal Miscellany, 1st Edition

By Keith Mason

Federation Press

208 pages

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Old Law, New Law follows the author's Lawyers Then and Now in offering a miscellany of genuine legal stories drawn from Australian legal history as well as its modern law. If there is any change of focus, this work looks at the people of the law through the prism of established or changing legal doctrines and processes.

The chapter headings will show that quirky humanity intrudes into the most doctrinaire of fields (such as statutory interpretation and tort law) and that law intrudes into every facet of human life (including food, drink and sex). As in the former work, there is much comparing of attitudes past and present, while observing the underlying constancy of human values and biases within every corner of the law.

Readers will discover:

  • the constitutional distinction between financial and moral bankruptcy
  • the New South Wales judge who responded to a submission on behalf of the Queensland Commissioner for Railways by stating 'You don't think we are going to let you banana-benders get away with that, do you?'
  • Chief Justices who entered dodgy marriages, committed contempts of court or were described as 'sexy' by litigants they encountered
  • judges who upheld appeals from their own judgments
  • strange aspects of matrimonial law and lore, including 'wife sales' and forced outcomes of the biblical 'one flesh' concept
  • some (rare) sightings of appellate judges abusing each other
  • several instances of cannibalism and the law.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Men and Women 1. Women (and Men) in the Law 2. Matters Matrimonial 3. A Little Chapter about Sex Part 2: Essentials of Life 4. Food and Drink 5. Death and Taxes Part 3: Law’s Ways and Means 6. Statutes and Their Makers 7. Trials and Tribulations 8. Cut, Thrust and Contempt 9. Appeal Courts 10. How Judges Write and Reason 11. Getting Technical Part 4: Guarding Patches 12. Hierarchies and Precedents 13. The Rule of Law: Courts and the Executive Part 5: Public and Private Wrongs 14. Exclusionary Conduct: Colourful Aspects of Constitutional Law 15. Torts: Injuries to Body or Reputation

About the Author

Keith Mason has been a solicitor, barrister, law reformer, solicitor-general, president of a court of appeal, law teacher and mediator. He has published on topics including judicial method, legal taxonomy, the law of restitution, and the interface of law, morality and religion. Currently he is a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales and the chancellor of the Anglican diocese of Armidale. This work, along with Lawyers Then and Now, combines the interests of an amateur legal historian with insights drawn from a fortunate life in the law.

Subject Categories

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