Critics’ Reviews

For any reader interested in the law, its development, and the interplay between policy and precedent, this is a fascinating book.

… [an] outstanding collection. … This work reproduces some outstanding presentations, discussions and analysis, inspiring and reinvigorating those whose interest in the law has given way to the practical demands of clients and time sheets.

Whatever view one has of the various matters which are canvassed, no reader will leave this work without a very strong sense of the powerful intellect of Sir Anthony Mason. – Law Letter, Autumn 2008

For those interested in the constitutional development of Australia and the role of the High Court in interpreting and applying the constitution, this book is an invaluable serious of essays for the former Chief Justice of the court, Sir Anthony Mason, who served as its head between 1987 and 1995.

[T]hese articles … represent a defence and vindication of the constructive role that the Mson court played in applying the 1901 constitution to contemporary events.

In these articles, Mason’s language manages to combine the erudite and learned with a lucid and understandable account of the way in which the High Court of Australia interprets the constitution and the various controversies that arise under it….

This book is a collection of materials that needs to be read by every citizen concerned with the relation between law and liberal democracy in the new century. – Jeff Shaw QC, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 26-27

This sample of Sir Anthony Mason’s massive extrajudicial writings includes papers on numerous topics: judicial decision-making, the role of the judiciary, the need for a Bill of Rights, legal developments in areas including international law, public law, equity and contract, legal research and appellate advocacy.

It represents a valuable contribution to the legal literature. It provides insight into the way in which judges view their roles, and in this respect is of ongoing significance to those who want to understand the role of judges – and appellate judges in particular – in our political system. It provides insight into the views of one of Australia’s most significant High Court justices. In this respect, it will be a priceless resource for legal historians, both now and in years to come.

And many of its articles will be of interest for their content alone. The editor has added some helpful addenda, which clarify contextual matters, and briefly reported developments since the extracted pieces first appeared. It is well indexed. …

Even when flawed, [the articles] include much that is impressive. They are expressed with the clarity which comes from mastery both of language and of subject matter. Professor Lindell and The Federation Press are to be congratulated for making them accessible to a wider audience than they have hitherto enjoyed. – Roger Douglas, Law Society Journal (New South Wales), December 2007

The following review is extracted from the speech delivered by Professor Zines at the launch of The Mason Papers. The full transcript may be read by downloading the PDF file from the Federation Press website (see Supplements).

[L]eaving aside matters not included in the book, I do not know of any Australian law book by a single author that has such a broad coverage. Moreover, the contributions are written in a style that is lucid, succinct and elegant, as we have come to expect from Sir Anthony Mason.

There is someone else who must be mentioned. Professor Lindell engaged in a Herculean task in determining what among the author’s voluminous pieces should be included. …

Above all, Professor Lindell is to be commended for bringing together so well in the Introduction the various themes in the book, and also for his discussion of the propriety of extra-curial speech-making and writing by judges.

Federation Press (which has done so much to support Australian legal scholarship) has produced a handsome volume with a colourful and most attractive dust jacket. They are to be congratulated.

Justice Dyson Heydon, in the paper to which I referred earlier, indicated various qualities of modern judgments that he disliked and added, disapprovingly: “There is much talk of policy and interests and values.” That can certainly be said of The Mason Papers, but in no disparaging sense. It is in my opinion a highly commendable work. – Professor Leslie Zines

Scroll to Top