Celebrate the bicentenary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 17 May 2024

A watercolour painting depicting Elizabeth Street in Sydney. In the background are the Supreme Court and St James Church. Horse-drawn carts drive down a dirt road, and people are in the park nearby.

Supreme Court and St James Church, from Elizabeth Street, 1842 (Dixon Galleries, State Library of New South Wales).

On 17 May 2024, the Supreme Court of NSW will celebrate the bicentenary of its founding under the Third Charter of Justice, providing us with the opportunity to reflect on its profound impact on Australian society.

In a recent interview with ABC RN’s Law Report, NSW Chief Justice Andrew Bell emphasised the Supreme Court’s pivotal role in democracy. He also discussed notable cases, including the Myall Creek Massacre trial, highlighting colonial violence against Aboriginal peoples, and the Shark Arm Murder, an infamous criminal case involving a human arm found in a shark’s stomach.

The Supreme Court’s website has a dedicated page to commemorate the bicentenary. It includes profiles and information on Chief Justices and timelines with significant historical events.

To acknowledge this anniversary, we have included links to two Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society articles on the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of NSW has also published a commemorative history titled Constant Guardian, Changing Times: The Supreme Court of New South Wales 1824–2024.

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