BURT, Sir Archibald Paull (1810-1879)


BURT, Sir Archibald Paull (1810-1879)
first chief justice of Western Australia
son of George Henry Burt, was born in 1810 and educated at a private school at Richmond, England. He was called to the bar in 1845 and went to the island of St Christopher in the West Indies, where he was attorney-general from 1849 to 1860. He was then appointed commissioner of the civil court and court of quarter sessions at Perth. Shortly after his arrival in 1861 he discovered that under the constitution he was unable to issue writs of habeas corpus or certiorari. An ordinance was then passed creating a supreme court with Burr as chief justice. He was the only judge in the colony for many years, and in 1870 much feeling was caused by his arbitrary conduct in fining (Sir) S. H. Parker, who was appearing for a prisoner, for "malpractice and misconduct" and afterwards fining and imprisoning two editors of newspapers for, in the one case printing a letter from Parker, and in the other for commenting on the case. The bitterness arising from these cases did not die down for some years. Burt no doubt took this stand because he thought the dignity of his position was involved. Apart from this incident he established a high reputation as a courteous and capable chief justice. He died on 21 November 1879 while still in office. He was knighted in 1873. He married in 1836 Louisa Emily Bryan and there was a large family. His seventh son, the Hon. Septimus Burt, K.C., born on 25 October 1847, was the first attorney-general of Western Australia under responsible government from 1890 to 1897. Another son, Octavius Burt, I.S.O., born in 1849, filled many offices before becoming comptroller-general of prisons and chief electoral officer; and a third son, Alfred Earle Burt, I.S.O., became registrar of titles and deeds of Western Australia.
The West Australian, 25 and 28 November 1879; J. 8. Battye, Western Australia, A History; J. G. Wilson, Western Australia's Centenary, p. 145; P. Mennell, The Dictionary, of Australasian Biography.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • Archibald Burt — Sir Archibald Paull Burt Kt QC (1810 21 November 1879) was a British lawyer from the colonies of the West Indies and was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, which is the highest ranking court in the Australian State …   Wikipedia


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