The Federation Press

Excursions in the Law


In 40 years as a barrister and judge Peter Heerey AM QC has observed and sometimes taken part in memorable legal events.

This work is partly a collection of recollections; a murder trial, a Privy Council appeal, the leading High Court decision on the liability for barristers’ negligence and the cause célèbre of Professor Orr and his dismissal by the University of Tasmania.

There are also studies of notable historical and legal figures: Andrew Inglis Clark, Sir Owen Dixon, Abraham Lincoln, Justice Antonin Scalia and others as well as some of his professional colleagues.

From time to time Peter’s work has included periods in other lands: the American South, Quebec, Vanuatu and Ireland. Vivid impressions of their historical backgrounds and some current personalities are recorded.

Law is looked at from a literary perspective. There are discussions of the commercial and litigious issues in The Merchant of Venice, post modernist analysis of legal issues and storytelling in the law.

Table of Contents


Andrew Inglis Clark: The Man and his Legacy
Andrew Inglis Clark and Cricket
The Supreme Court of Tasmania: Its First Century 1824-1924
The Orr Case Revisited
Hobart – A Guide for Innocent Mainlanders

The Victorian Bar: Some History and a Little Lore
Memories of the Battle of Hastings
The Judicial Herd: Seduced by Suave Glittering Phrases?
A Question of Judgment
Judges at Work
A Towering Figure of the Law
Counsel’s Baggage
Judgment Writing
The Ballad of Briginshaw
Chettyar’s Case
Down with Defamation!
Jeff Sher’s Farewell
Ode to His Honour Judge Ross
Ode to His Honour Judge Gebhardt

A Last Hurrah – Privy Council Days
Law in Vanuatu
Canada and Quebec
The Traveller’s Return
Away Down South in Dixie
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Justice Antonin Scalia
Abraham Lincoln – Patent Lawyer
How Judges Think
A Night at the King’s Inns
An Officer and a Spy

The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act
Truth, Lies and Stereotype: Stories of Mary and Louis
Storytelling, Postmodernism and the Law
Aesthetics, Culture, and the Whole Damn Thing
Rediscovering Rhetoric

Bracket (“Bracket”) Creep
Colonising Language
Historical Dating

Of interest...