This collection of essays from eminent judges, prominent practitioners and leading scholars analyses the work of one of the most important lawyers in Australian history, Sir Anthony Mason, Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1972 to 1987 and Chief Justice of Australia from 1987 to 1995. This book is primarily concerned with the law that Sir Anthony, with his fellow judges, declared and developed over his career in Australia on the High Court and subsequently in Hong Kong as one of the first Non-Permanent Judges on the Court of Final Appeal.
Sir Anthony occupies a unique place in Australia that cries out for legal and historical analysis. His life has spanned Australia’s development from a British dominion whose domestic politics was dominated by the States to its emergence as a modern and independent federal nation. His Chief Justiceship followed closely on the heels of Australia finally asserting its status as a sovereign independent nation with the Australia Acts 1986. Extra-judicially, Sir Anthony has long been an incisive and influential commentator on many aspects of private and public law and on the role of the judiciary. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Sir Anthony’s appointment to the High Court of Australia, this collection of essays seeks to highlight, evaluate and celebrate his work to ensure the dynamic and principled development of the law.
The twenty-six contributors include five former associates to Sir Anthony who now hold senior judicial appointments themselves; members of the University of Sydney Law School, including William Gummow, who succeeded Sir Anthony on the High Court; and leading specialists at the Bar, the Australian National University, the National University of Singapore, and the University of New South Wales.
The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 includes chapters on the roles of the judiciary in democratic nations with a strong commitment to the separation of powers; Part 2 considers many aspects of constitutional, administrative and public law as they developed under the Mason court, including federalism and the implied freedom of political communication; Part 3 includes chapters on contract, property, equity, tort and private international law.
The range of topics in this book reflects the extraordinarily wide and lasting influence of Sir Anthony Mason on Australian law, and on law-makers, judges, academics, students and lawyers over decades in Australia.