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Legal history

Albany Courthouse 1895-96, Albany, Western Australia

The Albany Courthouse is an operating Magistrates Court for civil and criminal matters in Albany, Western Australia. On the shores of the beautiful King George Sound, the first European settlement in 1826 was really a penal colony under the jurisdiction of the New South Wales Colony, and the first ‘courthouse’ as such a simple thatched roof affair. More history can be read on the WA Government’s Department of Justice page.

Young Courthouse (former), New South Wales

Young-Courthouse-(former)Young, a town on the south-west slopes of New South Wales has two courthouse buildings. One is the operating local courthouse while the other, constructed in 1886 is now part of a school.

Orange Courthouse 1883, Orange, Central Tablelands, New South Wales

The current Orange Courthouse building was designed by the Colonial Government Architect James Barnet. Construction was completed in 1883. Previous buildings existed on the site, the first being erected in 1847, around the time of the town’s settlement, and operated as a Court of Petty Sessions, being the usual arrangements in those times. Orange was proclaimed a municipality in 1860, the first meeting being held in the Courthouse, located on the same site as today, but a different structure.

Port Adelaide Courthouse 1882 (former), South Australia

Port Adelaide CourthouseThe old Port Adelaide Courthouse constructed in 1882 lies adjacent to the earlier Port Adelaide Police Station built in 1861. Inquests into deaths, often due to drownings following heavy drinking at local pubs, were held. These were inquests by juries in those times before the local police magistrate.

Cairns Courthouse 1919 (former), QLD

Cairns Courthouse, Australian courthouses The Cairns Courthouse constructed in 1919 was described as a ‘graceful and imposing structure’. A far cry from the previous ‘disgraceful courthouse’.

Wills and forgery in ancient times

Forgery of a will was of great concern for the ancients. Emperor Nero established the technique of will piercing, tying with ribbon and adding stelae.

Gortyn laws – ancient inheritance laws etched in stone

Ancient inheritance law, Law code of Gortyn, inscription, law in stone,Inheritance and intergenerational transfer of property has concerned families and civilisations for centuries.  Inheritance laws of the ancient city of Gortyn (Gortys), Crete were inscribed on stone in a public place in the fifth century.  The Law Code of Gortyn is a written set of rules prescribing who inherits, among other private matters, so as to keep property in the male side of family.

Inheritance and the Twelve Tables, an ancient Roman statute

Twelve Tables, Roman law, inheritance lawThe Law of the Twelve Tables, which contained rules on inheritance, was a code formulated to appease class conflict in the largely agrarian society in Rome in 450 BCE.  The Twelve Tables formed the basis of Roman Law.

When ancient Romans didn’t provide for children

“The Romans were also wont to set aside testaments as being inofficiosa, deficient in natural duty, if they disinherited or totally passed by (without assigning a true and sufficient reason) any of the children of the testator.”