University of Tasmania
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An analytical and comparative history of master and servant legislation in Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-26, 03:14 authored by Davidson, AP
When I began to research the topic of master and servant legislation in Tasmania my main object was to examine the factors leading to the passage of the Master and Servant Act in 1856, to explain how it worked and to examine its implications, principally in relation to the economic torts of modern industrial law. However, I found that certain aspects of the Act could not be explained without reference to the 1854 Master and Servant Act and that, in turn, the 1852 Servants and Apprentices Act and the 1840 Apprentices and Servants Act called for attention. Although the 1840 legislation was the first of its type in Van Diemen's Land it had been preceded in New South Wales by similar legislation in 1828, and since the intention of the governments of both colonies was to clear up doubts as to the applicability of English law it became necessary to examine the English provisions which treated breaches of contracts of employment as criminal offences. The thesis is therefore much more of an historical study than was originally intended, although Chapter 10 does attempt to show why the continued existence of the 1856 Act still constitutes a danger to unions and their members in Tasmania and in other states possessing similar statutes. An analysis of each colonial Act is prefaced by a chapter which seeks to place it in its political, social and economic context with particular emphasis on the legal aspects of various contemporary schemes of immigration.


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