These lectures about contemporary civil law have been edited for the general reader - you do not need to be a legal theorist. They are arguments around core issues that concern me: certainty/risk and legal realism.

Be prepared to be offended. I have no truck with the well meaning corrupt or those who consider law a modern invention of their own making. The threads that run through our law are ancient and are not to be trifled with.

On Certainty

Examines the Salem Witch Trials and explores the question 'how can society protect itself from collective hysteria'?  A statute book founded on basic principles of human rights is the last best defense against social collapse.

On Legal Realism

Examines the relationship between legal and behavioral change. Explores and contrasts changes made in two areas of the law: the law of time and the law of defamation.  A summary of defamation changes is also published.

On Cascading Legal Change

Examines how legal policy ideas can spread.  Examines changes to same-sex marriage and relationship law.

On Legal Theory in Practice

Examines how legal or economic theories can be useful in attempting to explain or justify events. While legal theories can illuminate events, they are not reliably used for predictive purposes.

On Risk

Examines different types of risk. Explores basic concepts in risk policy.

On Slavery

Examines modern concepts of slavery.

On Inns

Examines the vestiges of strict liability law.  

On Regulation Review

Examines the failure of regulation review. 

On Legislative Technique

Derives and contrasts basic legislative techniques from principles of deontic logic. Applies these to regulatory reform issues. 

On mitigating risk in Supply-Chains

Argues that traditional legal techniques for transferring risk in supply chains are ineffective and make situations worse. Three alternatives are examined.  

On Customary Legal Systems In South Eastern Australia

[A series of lectures exploring national, and inter-national, law of the various first peoples of South Eastern Australia, Canberra, 2017.]

On regional government - how size and shape can generate wealth or povertyhttp://www.silenttheory.net/2018/10/on-regional-government-how-size-and.html 

Examines the interrelationship between the size and shape of a political union and the outcomes enjoyed by citizens of such polities.  Considers the concept of natural geopolitical constituencies in an Australian context.  

1. Coherence

At the heart of any systematized body of rules lies the principle of coherence.

On the Private Use of Public Resources -  [to be added]  

Examines a range of commonly occurring practices by members of Australian Parliaments and Government Ministers - some sanctioned by legislation - that amount to a private use of public resources.  Considers overseas approaches to dealing with these issues and suggests a program for getting rid of the practices from our political landscape. [Note, this lecture does not identify specific instances but rather identifies widespread practices which, for that reason, are often considered unexceptional.]

On Misconduct by Public Officials -  [to be added]  

Examines the concept of "breach of public trust" and explores a number of cases where it has led to criminal or civil sanction.  Considers misapplication of the action in the hands of vexatious litigants for political or trivial purposes.  [to be added]

On Punishment -  [to be added]  

Examines alternatives to jail - particularly forms of punishment employed in societies which have not created formal prison systems.  [to be added]

Other Formal Writing

3. State Banks
4. To my mother
5. A smile in their eyes
6. Predicting Risk
7. The Big Man from Sydney
8. On Leadership - To Catilius Severus


With the Australian Risk Policy Institute I have prepared the following published submissions:

1. Access to land to coal seam gas or petroleum exploration - January 2014
2. Transport costs for a monopoly provider - January 2014
3. Mandatory Child Seat Restraints - January 2014
4. Regulating Heavy Vehicles on Australian Roads - January 2014
5. Inquiry into the Wrongs Act - January 2014
6. Water security for South East Queensland - January 2014
7. Modernising Queensland Resource Acts - January 2014

Background Papers:
Making Sense of Risk
Commission of Audit - Taxation Issues
Federation White Paper - Background Briefing on Vertical Fiscal 
Federation White Paper - Background Briefing on Regional Issues
Federation White Paper - Progress
Regulatory Reform - Apprentices

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Author: Peter Quinton

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