SALOMONS, Sir Julian Emanuel (1836-1909)

SALOMONS, Sir Julian Emanuel (1836-1909)
advocate and politician
son of Emanuel Salomons, a merchant of Birmingham, was born at Edgbaston, England, on 4 November 1836. He came to Australia in 1853 and was for a time secretary of the great Synagogue at Sydney. In 1858 he went to England where he entered at Gray's Inn and was called to the bar in 1861. He returned to Sydney and at first made a reputation in criminal cases, coming especially into notice in connexion with the case of Louis Bertrand who was sentenced to death on a charge of murder. Salomons entered parliament and in December 1869 became solicitor-general in the second Robertson (q.v.) ministry which became the fifth Cowper (q.v.) ministry in January 1870. Cowper resigned on 15 December 1870 and Salomons was not in office again for many years. In the meantime his reputation as an advocate had steadily grown and when Sir James Martin (q.v.) died on 4 November 1886 Salomons was offered and accepted the position of chief justice. Twelve days later he resigned on the ground that the appointment was distasteful to two of the judges and to a third (Sir) William Windeyer, Salomons said "the appointment appears to be so wholly unjustifiable as to have led to the utterance by him of such expressions and opinions . . . as to make any intercourse in the future between him and me quite impossible". This Salomons felt could not fail to affect most unfavourably the whole business of the court (Sydney Morning Herald, 19 November 1886). All three judges wrote disclaiming what had been attributed to them, and letters signed by the leading members of the bar and leading solicitors asked Salomons to reconsider his decision without effect. Windeyer admitted that he thought the appointment "a grave mistake", but whatever else he may have said had probably not lost in the retelling of it. Salomons appears to have been unduly sensitive about the matter. In March 1887 he became vice-president of the executive council in the fourth Parkes (q.v.) ministry, and he held the same position in the second Dibbs (q.v.) ministry from October 1891 to January 1893. His term in the legislative council lasted from 1887 to 1899. He fought against federation because he believed too much power was to be given to the smaller states. For a period in 1899-1900 he acted as agent-general for New South Wales at London. He was appointed standing counsel for the Commonwealth government in New South Wales in 1903, but practically retired from practice in 1907, although he made a few subsequent appearances in court. He died after a short illness on 6 April 1909. He married in 1862, Louisa, daughter of M. Solomon, who survived him with two daughters. He was knighted in 1891.
Salomons was short of stature and somewhat handicapped by defective eyesight. He had great industry, great powers of analysis, a keen intellect and unbounded energy and pertinacity. He not only had a great knowledge of his own case, he knew his opponent's too, and was always ready for any emergency. He was a great case lawyer and has been called a brilliant lawyer rather than a great advocate, but when moved by a just cause his oratory rose to great heights. In connexion with the Dean poisoning case in 1895 a solicitor made statements impugning Salomon's honour, and his impassioned defence of his conduct in the legislative council was long remembered as possibly the finest piece of speaking ever heard in that chamber. His wit and readiness were proverbial, and he was afraid of no judge. Some of his wit appears somewhat barbed, but he was really a good-natured man who, though he pretended he was overfond of money, had been known to argue a case without a fee because it was an important one involving the liberty of the subject. The real basis of his success as an advocate was, that he decided from the beginning that every case would have the same attention as if it were marked with a 200 guinea fee, and to the end of his career he never ceased working on his cases until the last minute available.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 1909; The Times, 7 April 1909; A. B. Piddington, Worshipful Masters; Who's Who, 1909.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • SALOMONS, SIR JULIAN EMANUEL — (1836–1909), Australian politician and jurist. Born in Birmingham, England, Salomons, the son of a merchant, emigrated to New South Wales in 1853 and worked first for a bookseller and then for a stock jobber. His mother s sister married sir saul… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Salomons, Sir Julian Emanuel — (1836–1909)    New South Wales leader. Salomons emigrated to Australia from Birmingham at the age of seventeen and settled in Sydney. A successful lawyer, he served on the Legislative Council and in the office of the solicitor general. He was… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Julian Salomons — and member of parliament. He was the only chief justice in New South Wales to be appointed and resign before he was ever sworn into office. Salomons was said to be short of stature and somewhat handicapped by defective eyesight. However, he had… …   Wikipedia

  • LAWYERS — Introduction Although Jews were noted advocates at Brighegua near Toledo, Spain, as early as 1436, and though converted Jews were prominent lawyers in South America in the 17th century, Jews were generally prevented from practicing law in most of …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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