Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial, 1800-1900

By John McLaren

© 2011

Throughout the British colonies in the nineteenth century, judges were expected not only to administer law and justice, but also to play a significant role within the governance of their jurisdictions. British authorities were consequently concerned about judges' loyalty to the Crown, and on occasion removed or suspended those who were found politically subversive or personally difficult. Even reasonable and well balanced judges were sometimes threatened with removal.

Using the career histories of judges who challenged the system, Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered illuminates issues of judicial tenure, accountability, and independence throughout the British Empire. John McLaren closely examines cases of judges across a wide geographic spectrum — from Australia to the Caribbean, and from Canada to Sierra Leone — who faced disciplinary action. These riveting stories provide helpful insights into the tenuous position of the colonial judiciary and the precarious state of politics in a variety of British colonies.

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Product Details

  • Series: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 432 pages
  • Illustrations: 12
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.4in x 9.4in
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SKU# SP003279

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2011

    From: $59.25

    Regular Price: $79.00

    ISBN 9781442644373
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2011

    From: $59.25

    Regular Price: $79.00

Quick Overview

Using the career histories of judges who challenged the system, Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered illuminates issues of judicial tenure, accountability, and independence throughout the British Empire.

Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial, 1800-1900

By John McLaren

© 2011

Throughout the British colonies in the nineteenth century, judges were expected not only to administer law and justice, but also to play a significant role within the governance of their jurisdictions. British authorities were consequently concerned about judges' loyalty to the Crown, and on occasion removed or suspended those who were found politically subversive or personally difficult. Even reasonable and well balanced judges were sometimes threatened with removal.

Using the career histories of judges who challenged the system, Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered illuminates issues of judicial tenure, accountability, and independence throughout the British Empire. John McLaren closely examines cases of judges across a wide geographic spectrum — from Australia to the Caribbean, and from Canada to Sierra Leone — who faced disciplinary action. These riveting stories provide helpful insights into the tenuous position of the colonial judiciary and the precarious state of politics in a variety of British colonies.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 432 pages
  • Illustrations: 12
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.4in x 9.4in
  • Reviews

    ‘McLaren’s book provides a rigorous and fascinating account of how the Colonial Office exercised its disciplinary authority over colonial judges… McLaren’s empire-wide comparative approach allows us to observe imperial political, legal, and social networks in play.’
    Philip Girard
    Journal of Law and Society vol 39:04:2012

    ‘McLaren is to be congratulated for coherently tying together the experience of a dozen colonies over a full century… the author has done a good job showing how the quirks and oddities of these individual judicial characters have the potential to reveal a great deal about the inner workings of the imperial project.’
    Patrick J. Connors
    Canadian Historical Review, vol 94:01:2013

    ‘McLaren’s work is a wonderful contribution to English legal history that will be of great value to both legal scholars and more general students of the British Empire.’


    Jeffrey B. Robb
    The Historian; vol 75:02:2013

    ‘This book is a colourful comparative study of the contested boundaries between law and politics in the British Empire …The sheer number of characters and colonies McLaren has researched here gives unprecedented empirical breadth to his history. Underneath McLaren’s detailed biographies lies a new history of the British Empire written on an archival scale.’
    Lisa Ford
    Victorian Studies, Spring 2014
  • Author Information

    John McLaren is a professor emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria.

  • Table of contents

    CHAPTER 1

    Colonial Judges in Trouble – Setting the Scene

    CHAPTER 2

    Judicial Tenure and Accountability and Independence in the Common Law World before 1800

    CHAPTER 3

    The Administration of Colonial Justice and Law in the 19th Century British Empire: General Contours

    CHAPTER 4

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary — Courting Reform in a Counter-Revolutionary Empire, 1800-1830

    CHAPTER 5

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary: Ultra-Conservative Judges in an Era of Developing Reformist Sentiment in the British Empire, 1810-1840

    CHAPTER 6

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary: Guarding the Sanctity of the Common Law from Local “Deviations” in a Convict Colony, 1800-1830

    CHAPTER 7

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary: English Legal Culture and the Repugnancy Card in the Australian Colonies, 1830- 1850

    CHAPTER 8

    Repugnancy in Australia after 1850: Shoot Out in Adelaide, 1854-1868

    CHAPTER 9

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary: The Incubus of Slavery in the West Indian Colonies and West Africa, 1800-1834

    CHAPTER 10

    The Perils of the Colonial Judiciary: The Indelible Stain of Slavery in the West Indian Colonies, 1834-1900

    CHAPTER 11

    Judges, Courts and Empire in the 19th Century and Beyond

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