Colonial Queensland

There were obvious difficulties in transplanting this system of authorised law reporting to colonial Queensland. In 1866, the entire population of the colony of Queensland was only about 80,000, with a very small number of practising lawyers and a Supreme Court comprising only two Judges. At the time, the practice of the Supreme Court was to deliver judgments orally – without the reasons being recorded by any official system of transcription. For a short period, reasons for judgment were published in full in the Queensland Government Gazette, but this had been discontinued by 1869. It was then left solely to the daily newspapers to provide the only detailed reported record of the reasons for judgment delivered by the Supreme Court. However, it was only many years later, in 1898, that these newspaper reports and other records were used to prepare five volumes of law reports from this early period – the Queensland Supreme Court Reports.

In 1878, the Queensland Law Society arranged for the first series of law reports of Supreme Court judgments to commence publication – the Queensland Law Reports. These ceased in 1880, after only one volume was published, upon the death of the editor, Henry Beor QC.

In 1881, a commercial publisher launched the Queensland Law Journal Reports. This series continued successfully to 1901, the year of Australia’s Federation.

See further:

BH McPherson, The Supreme Court of Queensland (1989) at 223 ff.