The Law Rare Books Collection is an important public collection of rare and early legal texts. The collection is of research significance not only to lawyers, but also to researchers of legal, social and cultural history. It has particularly strong holdings of early printed law texts; law reports, seventeenth-century political pamphlets, classic legal texts and material relating to Australian Federation and the early years of the Commonwealth. Its nineteenth-century holdings are a good representative example of a colonial lawyer’s library and are significant for what they can tell us about the practice of law in early Victoria.
The collection’s links to the beginnings of the University of Melbourne – via the collections of individuals such as William Edward Hearn and Sir Redmond Barry – make it of particular significance to Melbourne Law School and the University community more broadly.
Australian Federation, series of five large volumes of material relating to Australian Federation and the early years of the Commonwealth, compiled by J.G. (John Garibaldi) Roberts from 1889.
Items from the Rare Book Collection cannot be borrowed but are available to view for research purposes. Copying is available in some circumstances. Please see staff at the loans desk on Level 3 for assistance or call ph 8344 8913 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm, to make arrangements to use the Rare Book Collection.
The Law Rare Book Collection includes a range of material relating to nineteenth-century Australian legal history. This includes legislation, law reports, legal texts and periodicals.
Much early Australian legislation is kept on the open shelves on Level 4 of the Law Library. This includes the annual acts for Victoria from 1854 and Commonwealth acts from 1901.
Legislation held in the Law Rare Book Collection includes:
Many items in the Law Rare Book Collection were part of the Law Faculty’s original teaching library. As a result, the collection includes a large number of nineteenth-century legal treatises and texts. These include:
Periodicals in the Law Rare Book Collection include:
Federation-related items in the Law Rare Book Collection include:
The Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative and International Law, 1600-1926 - Commentary service. Combines foreign, comparative, and international titles into a single resource. The International Law component features works of some of the great legal theorists while the Foreign Law component features foreign legal treatises of a variety of countries. The Comparative Law component features online books that compare more than one legal system and includes Ancient, Roman, Jewish Law, and Islamic Law.
The Making of Modern Law Legal Treatises 1800-1926 - collection of more than 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law.
The Making of Modern Legal Trials 1600-1926 - collection of more than 7000 publications describing UK and US trials – from notorious, scandalous and sensational courtroom dramas to cases of great constitutional, historical and precedent-setting value, such as the Dred Scott case, the Scopes “Monkey” Trial and the Amistad Slavery case.
This Research Guide is created and maintained by Carole Hinchcliff, Law School Librarian, Melbourne Law School.
If you need assistance finding and using any of the books, journal articles, databases and resources in this guide, please contact a law librarian. You can use the 'Ask a Librarian' chat service for quick questions, or for more in-depth enquiries, please email: email@example.com