martin j. wiener on the legal cleavages separating queensland, britain and empire


Queensland criminal law was essentially English law with some local modifications, but its chief distinction from the latter was that it was largely administered by Queenslanders. While their legal definitions might be the same, crimes were often understood differently in late-nineteenth-century Queensland and England; some, like sheep-stealing, were seen as more heinous in the former; others, like the killing of nonwhites, generally as less so. Moreover, Queensland, as a colony of settlement, enjoyed almost-complete autonomy. In contrast to either India or to directly ruled Crown colonies, the Home Government was extremely limited in its ability to influence Queensland justice.

Wiener, An Empire on Trial (CUP: 2009).

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