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Jesting Pilate And Other Papers and Addresses by The Rt Hon Sir Owen Dixon
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Jesting Pilate And Other Papers and Addresses by The Rt Hon Sir Owen Dixon

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ISBN 9781760021856 Forthcoming Release 21 June 2019

Although it is now ninety years since he was first appointed to the High Court and fifty five years since he retired as Chief Justice, Sir Owen Dixon remains the towering figure in Australian jurisprudence. He is widely viewed as our greatest and most influential judge. While Dixon’s judgments continue to be cited by courts and debated by scholars, his extra-judicial writings have been more difficult to obtain and having accordingly received less attention. The publication of this new expanded edition of Jesting Pilate will help redress the balance, bringing as it does less studied aspects of Dixon’s expansive and worldly intellect to the fore again.

In addition to reorganising the original papers, the Editors have enlarged the collection significantly by including two previously unpublished addresses by Sir Owen Dixon, as well as two papers by Dixon’s former associate and friend James Merralls AM QC which provide important context about Dixon’s life and work. Additionally insight into Dixon’s legacy is provided by the inclusion of important papers by each of the editors. Finally, the speech delivered by Sir Ninian Stephen on the 100th anniversary of Dixon’s birth is included, as is a new Foreword by the Hon Susan Kiefel, Chief Justice of Australia.

As the Editors note in their Introduction:

The materials collected in Jesting Pilate, prepared for disparate occasions, demonstrate aspects of Dixon’s personality which might otherwise remain elusive: the warmth of his friendships, his love of an allusive joke and his perspicacity about world affairs and the personalities shaping them. … It is our hope that this third edition of Jesting Pilate confirms Dixon’s past and continuing contribution to developments in Australian law and reaffirms his stature as a great man.



Address by Sir Ninian Stephen
Sir Owen Dixon: The Communist Party Case, Then and Now 
            Susan Crennan 
The Rt Hon Sir Owen Dixon, OM, GCMG, 1886-1972 
            James Merralls 
Sir Owen Dixon 
            SEK Hulme 
The Library of Sir Owen Dixon 
            James Merralls 
Sir Owen Dixon Today 
            William Gummow


(A) Dixon in the Wider World

Jesting Pilate 
International Relations 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
Roosevelt and Hopkins 
The Hon Mr Felix Frankfurter – A Tribute from Australia

(B) Judicial Methods

Concerning Judicial Method 
Science and Judicial Proceedings 
The Law and the Scientific Expert 
The Survival of Causes of Action 
The Development of the Law of Homicide 
A Legacy of Hadfield, M’Naghten and Maclean

(C) Constitutionalism

The Law and the Constitution 
The Statute of Westminster 
The Common Law as an Ultimate Constitutional Foundation 
De Facto Officers

(D) Comparative Federalism

Two Constitutions Compared 
The Separation of Powers in the Australian Constitution 
Government under the American Constitution 
Aspects of Australian Federalism 
Sources of Legal Authority 
Marshall and the Australian Constitution

(E) The Professions

University Education in a Scientific Civilization 
The Teaching of Classics and the Law 
Two Portraits 
Professional Conduct 
The Profession of Accountancy

(F) From the Bench

[Note on the last four papers] 
[The four speeches]

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