The Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History invites members to attend the annual Forbes Lecture, to be held in the Bar Common Room tonight at 5.00pm. The guest lecturer will be Associate Professor Mark Lunney, from the University of New England. The theme is "Federation and Beyond: What the History of Australian Tort Law Can Tell Us".
Whilst some work has been done on the development of private law in the colonial period, little study has been undertaken of the post-Federation period. As Bruce Kercher has noted, it has traditionally been assumed that Australian law simply followed English law. This lecture will evaluate the traditional view by considering three leading cases in Australian tort law from three different periods - Balmain New Ferry Co Ltd v Robertson (1906), Australian Knitting Mills Ltd v Grant (1933) and Hargrave v Goldman (1963). It reveals that Australian courts were confronted with novel legal issues that could not be resolved by mere reference to English authority. Moreover, an analysis of the historical context of the cases reveals peculiarly Australian contexts to these decisions and demonstrates the contribution that studies of the history of tort law can make to wider Australian history.
Associate Professor Mark Lunney obtained his undergraduate degrees from the University of Queensland, before moving to the UK to undertake postgraduate research at Cambridge. Between 1991-2003 he was lecturer, senior lecturer and reader at the School of Law, Kingâs College London and since July 2003 has been an Associate Professor at the School of Law at the University of New England.
Associate Professor Lunney has published widely in the fields of tort and legal history. He is co-author of Tort Law: Text & Materials (3rd ed, 2008) (with KA Oliphant), The Law of Torts in Australia (4th ed, 2007) (with Francis Trindade and Peter Cane) and is a contributor to Butterworths Common Law Series The Law of Tort (2nd ed, 2007). He has presented at major legal history conferences, including the London Legal History Seminar, the British Legal History Conference and the Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference. He has written on the history of the solicitors' profession in England, Australia and New Zealand and his recent historical research has focused on contextual analysis of leading Australian tort cases.
5 November 2009