Monday, December 7th, 2015
They travelled to Australia with the First Fleet, helped shape the laws that governed Britain and the British Empire in North America and the South Pacific, while centuries later they still influence legal thinking and decisions on such major issues as Indigenous Land Rights.

Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England are now the focus of a free public exhibition at the University of Adelaide, celebrating 250 years of this landmark publication.

Originally published from 1765-1769, Blackstone’s Commentaries became the basic reference work on law and parliamentary government in much of the western world – the book continued to be used in law schools well into the 20th century, and is still a significant legal authority, especially in the USA.

The exhibition is co-curated by Professor Wilfrid Prest, Professor Emeritus of History and Law at the University and General Editor of the new Oxford Edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, together with Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian at Yale Law School.

The exhibition casts new light on the publication, dissemination and impact of a legal classic which is still going strong today.

WHAT: Exhibition: 250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries
WHERE: Sir John Salmond Law Library, Ligertwood building, North Terrace campus, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 8.30am-5.00pm weekdays, from 10 December 2015 to 19 February 2016
COST: Free and open to all

This exhibition will be launched on Wednesday 9th December in connection with the conference “Legal Reform and Innovation” being held at the University of Adelaide (10-12 December). The conference includes a day-long symposium dedicated to Blackstone and his critics.

Media contact:

Professor Wilfrid Prest
Professor Emeritus of History and Law
School of Law

The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 5883
Mobile: +61 (0)403 660 308
[email protected]

David Ellis
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762
[email protected]

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Public exhibition commentaries shaped colonial world



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