The Early Life of Mr. Justice Boothby
Posted: 30 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 28, 2013
Mr Justice Benjamin Boothby occupied the post of Second Judge in the Supreme Court of South Australia from 1853 to 1867. He may have been the most unsuitable appointment to the Bench in South Australia’s history, and lacked almost every quality necessary for the role. After years of controversy, he was dismissed in 1867, the only Judge ever to suffer that fate in South Australia’s history. It was his eccentric interpretation of the law that provoked the enactment of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 (Imp.), and thus he was an important figure in the legal history of the whole British Empire. But very little indeed is known of his colourful early life before his arrival in South Australia aged 50. This article fills that gap.
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