November 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lord Atkin in Tank Street, Brisbane, Queensland. In his article, “Lord Atkin: Principle and Progress” (previously published in The Australian Law Journal Vol 90 Part 10), Justice Peter Applegarth chronicled the philosophy, influences and enduring legacy of Lord Atkin, whose landmark judgment in Donoghue v Stevenson continues to guide the common law to this day.
Lord Atkin’s remarkable life and achievements are commemorated in the currently ongoing exhibition “Lord Atkin: From Queensland to the House of Lords“.
Comment by the Hon Justice Peter D Applegarth, Supreme Court of Queensland:
This exhibition at the Supreme Court Library in Brisbane was opened by the Chief Justice of Australia (the Honourable Susan Kiefel AC), on the 150th anniversary of Lord Atkin’s birth in Brisbane. For readers who cannot visit the physical exhibition, an online version is accessible at: https://legalheritage.sclqld.org.au/exhibitions/lordatkin.
- A video introduction by the Honourable Justice Patrick Keane AC;
- A biography of Lord Atkin and an account of the society into which he was born;
- A section about Atkin’s father, a campaigning journalist who resigned from Parliament to make way for a fellow progressive, the young Samuel Griffith;
- Profiles about the influential women in Lord Atkin’s life;
- An analysis of his enduring dissenting judgment in the wartime executive detention case of Liversidge v Anderson; and
- A section about Donoghue v Stevenson.
The Donoghue v Stevenson section includes three short video presentations by leading tort scholars, Professor Mark Lunney, Professor Kit Barker and Dr Kylie Burns, who discuss aspects of the “Snail in the Bottle” case.
A recent addition to the exhibition is an oral history video, featuring two of Lord Atkin’s grandchildren, who lived with him in Wales during World War II. Their vivid recollections of their grandfather include how as children they would stage plays for their grandfather and others to watch. Their favourite book was Alice in Wonderland. The family affection for that work provided the raw material for Lord Atkin’s famous reference to Alice in his dissenting judgment in Liversidge v Anderson.
The exhibition is open to the general public weekdays between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm until 30 November 2018 at the Supreme Court Library, Level 12, 415 George Street, Brisbane.