Foundational Sources and Purposes of Authority in Australian Law

  • Danial Kelly Charles Darwin University
Keywords: Foundational Sources, Purposes of Authority, Australian law


The starting point in understanding Australia’s socio-legal place in an international context is to be familiar with its Western legal tradition. Some of the characteristics of the Western idea of law include the separation of law from other normative systems (such as religion), the centrality or primacy of law as a method of regulating society, and the inherent authority of law. Other major socio-legal features of contemporary Australia include a multicultural population and government by representative democracy. Australian law has sprung out of the English branch of the Western legal tradition, therefore the English heritage of Australian law will first be considered.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, History of overseas-born in Australia (11 August 2012) Australian Bureau of Statistics .

Barton, George B., 1889, History of New South Wales from the Records, Volume 1: Governor Phillip, 1783-1789, Charles Potter Government Printer.

Dicey, A V., 1897, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, 5th ed, Macmillan.

Freeman, M D A,2001, Lloyd’s Introduction to Jurisprudence 7th ed, Thomson.

Henry Hallam, 1850, Hallam’s Constitutional History of England, Ward, Lock & Co, circa.

Hughes, Robert and Geoffrey Leane, 1997, Australian Legal Institutions: Principles, Structure and Organisation, JL Law, 1997.

Goldsworthy, Jeffrey, 2000, ‘Interpreting the Constitution in Its Second Century’ 24(3) Melbourne University Law Review 677.

Kamenka, Eugene, Robert Brown, and Alice Erh-Soon Tay (eds), 1978, Law and Society: The Crisis of Legal Ideals, Edward Arnold.

Parkinson, Patrick, 2010, Tradition and Change in Australian Law, 4th ed, Lawbook Co.

Stephenson, Carl and Frederick George Marcham, 1937, Sources of English Constitutional History, Harper & Row.

Unger, R M, 1976, “Law in Modern Society” reproduced in M D A Freeman, Lloyd’s Introduction to Jurisprudence, 7th ed, Thomson, 2001.

Windeyer, W J V., 1957, Lectures on Legal History, 2nd ed, Law Book Co.

Laws, legislations, and Court cases
Acts Interpretation Act 1901

Act Abolishing Arbitrary Courts 1641.

Act of Settlement 1701.

Al-Kateb v Godwin (2004).

Australian Constitution.

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900.

Koowarta v Bjelke-Peterson (1982).

Native Title Act 1993.

Northern Territory Supreme Court Act 1961.

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978

Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992).

Magna Carta of 1215.

Parliament Act 1911.

R v Kidman (1915)

Rodway v The Queen (1990).

Supreme Court Act 1979 (NT).

Supreme Court Ordinance 1911.
How to Cite
Kelly, D. (2018). Foundational Sources and Purposes of Authority in Australian Law. Jambe Law Journal, 1(1), 1-12.