Justin Cahill

Postgraduate Research Student

Thesis Title

Rights in early colonial New South Wales (1786-1810)



I advocate a broader view of the sources of law and rights in early colonial NSW. We often focus on formal sources, such as Acts of Parliament and judge-made law. But during the early stage of NSW legal development, significant areas of social and economic activity were regulated by the Governors' prerogative powers. They included grants of conditional or absolute pardons and land grants. These things are often described as 'privileges' or 'indulgences'. This implies they were discretionary, which I think is an illusion.