James Cockle was a brilliant mathematician, a future Fellow of the Royal Society, appointed Chief Justice of Queensland in the most stormy and unpromising of circumstances.
When he came to Queensland in 1863, relations between the government and A.J.P Lutwyche, the resident Supreme Court Judge, were in a state of turmoil. Lutwyche, whose expectation of promotion to Chief had been dashed, had recently declared Queensland's infant Parliament and all its Acts invalid. The Law Officers in England agreed and Lutwyche continued to attack the government, looking for other legislation to invalidate. The Queensland Government begged the Colonial Office to find a Chief Justice in England and Cockle was appointed.
Conciliatory, dignified, scrupulously impartial, and proficient as a lawyer, Cockle calmed the storms left by Lutwyche - and calmed Lutwyche who continued to sit on the bench as junior judge. Yet he was an enigmatic figure who was poorly recognised by Queensland governments. Poorly paid (Lutwyche had the higher salary), he resigned and returned to England and mathematical studies shortly after he qualified for a pension in 1878.
"He was a rare instance of true human virtue. Jane Austen has taught us that tales of virtue can make absorbing reading. In this account, Dr Bennett has done as much for Sir James Cockle."Justice B H McPherson
The Queensland State Set of Lives of Australian Chief Justices, which includes, Sir James Cockle and Sir Charles Lilley is available for $90.00 - to order the Queensland State Set, click here.
A brilliant mathematician, conciliatory, dignified, scrupulously impartial and proficient as a lawyer, Cockle seems to have been the right man for the job. He was appointed Chief Justice of Queensland in the most stormy and unpromising of circumstances when the resident Supreme Court judge, supported by the Law Officers in England, had declared all the legislation of the new colonial parliament invalid. Poorly paid and poorly recognised, Cockle [was] "a truly great and remarkable man" in this assessment and undeservedly forgotten. - DK Australian Historical Studies, Vol 36 Issue 125 (April 2005) 189
Foreword, by the Hon. Mr Justice McPherson Acknowledgements / List of Illustrations / "Dramatis Personae"
A tale of two cities
"Always on the watch"
"Correcting the blunders of the Colonial Office"
"A noble career of usefulness will be open"
"He set out in troubled waters"
"Keeping steadily to the performance of his duty"
"Sympathy must not be allowed to distract my judgement"
The machinery of the law
"I claim the character of a Queenslander"
Abbreviations / Notes / Index
Series: Lives of Australian Chief Justices Series
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: November 2003
Publisher: Federation Press
Country of Publication: AU
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Number: 1