Item #5000940 Official document from the Lord Chancellor to Treasury, detailing the appointment of John Lewes Pedder as first Chief Justice of Van Diemens Land. John Lewes VAN DIEMENS LAND: CHARTER OF JUSTICE. PEDDER.
Official document from the Lord Chancellor to Treasury, detailing the appointment of John Lewes Pedder as first Chief Justice of Van Diemens Land.
Official document from the Lord Chancellor to Treasury, detailing the appointment of John Lewes Pedder as first Chief Justice of Van Diemens Land.

Appointment of Pedder as first Chief Justice of Van Diemens Land…
Official document from the Lord Chancellor to Treasury, detailing the appointment of John Lewes Pedder as first Chief Justice of Van Diemens Land.

Whitehall, London: September 1823.

Two pages, folio, manuscript in ink on a bifolium, the third page receipted to the Lord Chancellor by Treasury, the fourth page a docket title.

Appointment of the first Tasmanian Chief Justice

Rare official document marking the appointment of the English lawyer John Lewes Pedder to the very consequential office of first Chief Justice of Van Diemen's Land, at the point when the judicial system of Tasmania became separated from that of New South Wales. Pedder, who arrived in Hobart in March 1824, would serve in the office for thirty years. He was also a Member of Tasmania's first Legislative Council, serving from 1825 until 1851, and a member of the Executive Council until 1836.

Rare official document marking the appointment of the English lawyer John Lewes Pedder to the very consequential office of first Chief Justice of Van Diemen's Land, at the point when the judicial system of Tasmania became separated from that of New South Wales. Pedder, who arrived in Hobart in March 1824, would serve in the office for thirty years. He was also a Member of Tasmania's first Legislative Council, serving from 1825 until 1851, and a member of the Executive Council until 1836.

"On 26 March 1824, after Pedder had arrived in Van Diemen's Land, Lieutenant-Governor Sorell issued a Proclamation declaring him duly appointed Chief Justice, and that on 10 May the Supreme Court would 'enter upon the Exercise of its Jurisdiction according to the full Powers granted by the Royal Charter'. The Charter of Justice was read out by the Provost Marshal at Government House in the presence of the Colony's dignitaries. Immediately after, a salute of 21 guns was fired from Mulgrave Battery. On 10 May the first sitting of the Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land was held. This makes it Australia's oldest continually functioning superior court, since the opening session of the Supreme Court of New South Wales did not take place until a week later".

The document is receipted to the Lord Chancellor: "Our very good Lord, we have been made acquainted with this Docquet Whitehall Treasury Chambers the 10 day of October 1823". As a formal document between government departments it relates to — and precedes — the ornate original "Charter of Justice", with wax seals and "banjo case", dated 13 October 1823, which is held in the Archives Office of Tasmania (and can be seen online at https://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/item-sdid-118.html).

Provenance: From the library of the late Dr. Robert Edwards AO.

John M. Bennett, "Sir John Pedder: First Chief Justice of Tasmania", University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1977.

Price (AUD): $7,850.00

US$5,215.54   Other currencies

Ref: #5000940