" There have been times when Australian court judgments have held enormous weight in courts throughout the world, certainly throughout the Commonwealth. Owen Dixon’s High Court in the 1950s and Anthony Mason’s High Court in the 1980s are examples. If there were an Olympic record for teams of judges – and why not since they have Olympic medals for tae kwon do and beach volleyball – the Mason court would have won gold year after year. The quality of its jurisprudence was the best in the world" – Geoffrey Robertson QC, Sydney Morning Herald, 30th August 2007.
This book comprises a selection of articles and speeches by Sir Anthony Mason written and delivered when he was a Justice and later Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and after his retirement from that Court in 1995.
It demonstrates his long standing interest in the judicial process and his desire to communicate to the legal world and the public a more enlightened understanding of the proper scope of judicial law-making and the responsibility of judges for adapting the law to the changing conditions in society. It also displays his acknowledged mastery of public and private law and his belief in the growing significance of international and comparative law in the development of Australian law.
The book contains some important speeches and articles on constitutional and administrative law, international law, human rights, equity and contract, the High Court, judicial administration, advocacy, a significant media interview, a State of the Judicature report delivered as the Chief Justice of Australia and his swearing in speeches when appointed as a Justice and later Chief Justice of the High Court. Some of the selected speeches display Sir Anthony’s characteristic wit.
The book deals with highly topical subjects such as whether Australia should adopt a bill of rights, the health of Australia’s democratic institutions, the establishment of an Australian republic, globalization and the decline of parliamentary and national sovereignty.
The articles and speeches were chosen and edited by Professor Geoffrey Lindell in consultation with Sir Anthony.