Legal Method

Pre-Norman England

Roman Britain

27 BC - 223 AD

During the classical period the Roman Empire had significant political influence over Europe, including Britain.

Celt Rule

27 BC - 43 AD

Prior to the Roman invasion, the Celts ruled Britain

Roman Invasion

43 AD

Roman Withdrawal

410 AD

The Roman withdrawal from Britain


410 AD - 610 AD

During the 2 centuries following the Roman withdrawal, Britain was invaded from across the North Sea

The Dooms

801 - 900

During the 9th century, following the Danish invasion, Alfred the Great believed that unification of the different Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England was necessary to ensure protection from Danish invaders.

Following the Norman Conquest

Continental Feudalism

801 - 1000

Feudalism developed in the 9th and 10th centuries as a mechanism of protection from invaders.

Conquest at the Battle of Hastings 1066


William became the first Norman King of England (William I)

Common Law


There were various law systems in Britain so England did not start to develop a common law until after the Norman Conquest in 1066

William I

1066 - 1087

Reign of William I (William the Conqueror)

Henry II

1154 - 1189

The Emerging English Legal System

Court of the King's Bench

1201 - 1300

Rise of Constitutional Law in England - Magna Carta, Rule of Law and Due Process

Emergence of Parliament

1066 - 1400

There word 'parliament' was not used in Norman England until the 13th century because there had been no sense of 'nationhood'.

Magna Carta 1215


Provisions of Oxford 1258


Provisions of Oxford Repealed


Model Parliament


Glorious Revolution of 1688



Order of Edward II


The Order of Edward II in 1349 formalised the practice of the King referring petitions for relief to the Chancellor when people were dissatisfied with the lack of relief available at common law.

Court of Chancery

1401 - 1500

Judicature Act 1873


The Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 created a Supreme Court of Judicature which could hear disputes at common law or in equity.

Judicature Act 1875


The Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 created a Supreme Court of Judicature which could hear disputes at common law or in equity.


de Vattel's 'The Law of Nations'


Cook Received Sectret Instructions


Lieutant James Cook received 'secret instructions' from the British Admiralty to make a voyage of discovery to the South Pacific.

Cook Took Possession

22 August 1770

Cook took possession of the whole eastern coast of the continent and named it NSW.

First Settlement


Common Law in Australia

26 Jan 1788

English common law was received in Australian upon British settlement on the 26th January 1788

Australian Courts Act 1828 (Imp)

25 July 1828

This Act provided a date for clarification, it did not provide a source for Australian law.

Date of Reception Western Australia

1 June 1829

Date of Reception South Australia

28 December 1836

Federation: 1840s - 1850s

1840 - 1860

Dominant motive for federation lay in trade and customs.

Date of Reception Victoria

1 July 1851

Date of Reception Queensland

6 June 1859

Federation: 1860s - 1870s

1860 - 1880

Growing self-identies within the colonies, imposition of tariffs to protect local colonial industries remained an important issue through the 1870s (imposition of colonial tariffs formed a significant part of the federation debate).

Federation: 1880s

1880 - 1890

Question was not whether a federation should be formed but how one should be formed.

Date of Reception Northern Territory

1 January 1911

Date of Reception ACT

1 January 1911