First Among Equals:

Chief Justices of South Australia since Federation

FREE shipping to Australia, Europe, the UK and North America.

We are not registered for GST so you do not need to pay it. Your PayPal receipt will suffice for tax records, but please feel welcome to ask for a receipt from us as well if you need. We can also accept payments via EFT, just email and we will send an invoice with the BSB details.

A COMPLIMENTARY BOOKPLATE is offered with each newly printed book. Fill in the blank box above the PayPal button with the name you want for it. To see a mockup of what it will look like click here.

HARDBACK new printing with free optional bookplate
AUD$75.00 per copy GST FREE.  FREE Express Shipping to Australia, Europe, the UK and North America. PayPal or Card.*

Name on bookplate

Also available

The Crown

Foreword by the Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler AC
ed. Martin Hinton and John M. Williams
394 pages | AUD$72.00 (PB) | AUD$96.00 (HB)

Essays in Advocacy

Foreword by the Hon. Robert French AC
ed. Tom Gray, Martin Hinton and David Caruso
610 pages | AUD$72.00 (PB)

First Among Equals: Chief Justices of South Australia since Federation

Foreword by the Hon. Justice John Doyle, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia 1995-2012

Barr Smith Press, University of Adelaide, 290 pages
$75.00 GST FREE | 2006 | Hardback | 9780863968365

Part history, part biography, First Among Equals takes us on a journey through the history of the State of South Australia as we follow the lives of the five Chief Justices who completed their term in the twentieth century.

The book begins in the genteel South Australia of the last days of Queen Victoria when the Post Office and Town Hall Towers were the tallest structures in the Adelaide skyline.

Its dominating personality then was Chief Justice Sir Samuel Way. He was also Lieutenant-Governor, Chancellor of the only university, and presided over the organizations that governed the Children’s Hospital, Art Gallery, Museum, Library, Zoo and Botanic Gardens.

The twentieth century unfurled and the role of the Chief Justice in South Australia evolved. The State grew more sophisticated and the Courts expanded considerably. It achieved it final form under Len King, Chief Justice from 1978 until 1995, whose legacy is the form it holds now.

About the author

Dr John Emerson has published two legal histories and one judicial biography.

John founded the University of Adelaide Press in 2009 and now provides consulting services to academic institutions and learned societies.

First reaction to a book which is subtitled “Chief Justices of South Australia Since Federation” is to assume a fusty tome intended for the sentimental education of the legal profession. The surprise is that it turns out to be a rather lively history book. Emerson wields a light pen. His tight biographies ripple with a sense of the character as well as the life and times of his subjects. Legal careers and political events flow through as absorbing narrative rather than leaden fact. The five chief justices … emerge not only as powerful figures in South Australian history but also as interesting people with human foibles.

Samantha Harris

The Advertiser

john [at]

© 2023 John Emerson. All rights reserved.