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Type: Journal article
Title: When Dixon nodded: further studies of Sir Owen Dixon's contracts jurisprudence
Author: Gava, J.
Citation: The Sydney Law Review, 2011; 33(2):157-176
Publisher: LBC Information Services
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0082-0512
Statement of
John Gava
Abstract: Discussion of Sir Owen Dixon’s judging to date has been superficial. Both supporters and opponents of Dixon’s method have simply asserted their positions, without providing a sustained analysis of his judgments to back up claims made about Dixon’s fidelity to a ‘strict and complete legalism’. To remedy this lack, in a series of articles the author has examined four of Dixon’s contract decisions with the aim of advancing the debate over Dixon’s strict and complete legalism by providing a detailed analysis, concentrating on his judicial method, of several of his judgments. The articles also examined Dixon’s understanding of strict and complete legalism and showed that superficial comparisons to mechanical jurisprudence misrepresented the sophisticated form of bounded creativity that was at the essence of the judicial practice of Dixon. This article will examine two other of Dixon’s contract decisions in detail and show that in these cases Dixon did not decide them in conformity with his selfdescribed judicial method. This will show that, while Dixonian strict legalism does not and cannot have the intellectual rigour of an academic discipline, it nevertheless describes a method that allows us to identify judgments that are not made in accordance with an honest best-reading of the authorities and principles of the common law.
Rights: © 2011 The University of Sydney
RMID: 0020113182
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