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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Pedder, Sir John Lewis

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Pedder, Sir John Lewis,[1] Bart., first Chief Justice of Van Diemen's Land, was born in 1784, and was appointed Chief Justice in 1824. In 1854 he retired on a pension, and shortly afterwards returned to England, where he died in 1859. In 1848 Chief Justice Pedder had a dispute with Governor Sir William Denison over the Dog Act, which the Supreme Court in the previous year had declared to be void, although they had previously failed to exercise their prerogative of pronouncing the Act to be invalid on the ground of repugnancy to the Constitution Act. The Chief Justice declined the suggestion of the Governor that he should take leave of absence in order to admit of the reversal of the judgment, and Sir William Denison then tried to have him removed for neglect of duty in not having originally certified to the repugnancy. The Executive Council, however, acquitted him, and the Home Government ultimately censured the Governor for his conduct in the matter. As, however, the judgment would have voided fifteen Acts and rendered questionable thirty others, a bill was passed validating all Acts not certified by the judges as repugnant within fourteen days after enrolment, and thus the difficulty was got over.

  1. correct spelling is "Lewes". (Wikisource contributor note)