Ross Bradley

I’d had quite a few conversations with Ross Bradley 1 over the years, and explained exactly why each of his legal theories are unworkable. He didn’t listen of course, and went on to waste a lot of time in the courts just to be told the same. He thinks the rulings are from an invalid court anyway, so they hardly change his mind. Back in 2013 Ross believed his legal personality was a juristic person, as opposed to a natural person, and was convinced that Motu Proprio (a decree from the Pope) had precedence over the proceedings, that if he called on it, he was only subject to “ecclesiastic law”, not civil or criminal law.  1

Ross Bradley cites the Charters of Justice 1823 in establishing an “ecclesiastical jurisdiction”, which he refers to as a “superior jurisdiction”, which is allegedly above that of the secular courts, the constitutions, and the laws derived from these constitutions. The Charters, he claims, are not able to be altered or amended in any way, and are still valid today.  He has persistently sought to be tried within this imagined jurisdiction, claiming that any other courts do not have the authority to hear his case. Within this magical paradigm, he is not a member of the body politic of Australia, and therefore cannot be held accountable to any legislation, as it is what he terms “public law” which allegedly only applies to public servants within the body politic. Despite the realities of the principle of responsible government, he claims he is “under the Crown” and not the parliaments, drawing a distinction entailing two parallel systems of law, only one of which applies to him, as “sovereign of his own person”. 

His theory completely overlooks the specific matters which originally came under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, primarily relating to wills and deceased estates, and instead applies it across the board as if every matter could be heard within this so called “superior jurisdiction”. The State Records Authority of New South Wales 2 gives an accurate analysis of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the subsequent enactments and developments from 1828 until 1890 when the jurisdiction was finally abolished. 

As stated in Estate de Wild, deceased [2019] NSWSC 1128: 3

“The probate jurisdiction of the Court as now constituted (including jurisdiction to grant letters of administration) can be traced back to clauses 14-17 of Letters Patent dated 13 October 1823 (now known as The Third Charter of Justice 4) issued pursuant to the Imperial Statute for Geo IV c 96, colloquially known as the New South Wales Act 1823 (Imp) 5, section 10 of which authorised establishment of the Court as a court of “ecclesiastical” (that is, probate) jurisdiction. The continuity of that jurisdiction is evidenced both by section 33 of the Probate and Administration Act 1898 (NSW) 6 and section 22 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW). 7

The Third Charter of Justice speaks of grants of administration being made by the Court in terms which might be read as suggestive of a residential qualification for a grantee but which, read in historical context, may be no more than a reflection of the geographical constraints of an isolated, 19th century colony.

For practical purposes, it is not necessary to trace the Court’s probate jurisdiction to the time of the Court’s establishment or to dwell on the terms of the Third Charter of Justice. Section 40 of the Probate and Administration Act provides that “[the] Court shall have jurisdiction to grant probate of the will or administration of the estate of any deceased person leaving property, whether real or personal, in New South Wales”. Section 23 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 provides that “[the] Court shall have all jurisdiction which may be necessary for the administration of justice in New South Wales”, the width of which provision is confirmed by its legislative history, explained in Re AAA; Report on a Protected Person’s Attainment of the Age of Majority [2016] NSWSC 805 at [22]-[27]. 8

This case cited highlights the inherent powers in Section 23 of the Supreme Court Act 1970 as explained in a paper delivered to the New South Wales Bar Association on 10 November 1970 by Mr RD Conacher, then Deputy Chairman of the NSW Law Reform Commission, entitled “A General Introduction to the Supreme Court Act, 1970”. The paper includes the following (at 26):

“The Supreme Court Act 1970 continues the present Supreme Court (s. 22). The reason, or a major reason, for doing that, instead of setting up a new Court, is to avoid disturbing the operation of such things as the federal Constitution. We will therefore continue to have the Supreme Court set up in 1823 by the Charter of Justice and still regulated in some in some respects by that Charter and by the Imperial Act 9 Geo. 4 c. 83, the Australian Courts Act 1828. The new Act covers much of the field covered by the Charter and the Act of 1828, as indeed does the legislation now in force. The new Act, however, like most earlier legislation on the subject (cf. 15 Vic. No. 17), does not specify what provisions of the Charter and the Act of 1828 are no longer to have effect. It leaves them operative to some extent, but does not specify to what extent. This is a piece of tidying-up which remains to be done. The legislative power to override the Charter and the Act of 1828 is in section 29 of the Australian Constitutions Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vic. c 59).

For the general grant of judicial power we must therefore still look to these old instruments, together with the very general words of section 23 of the Act. It reads – ‘The Court shall have all jurisdiction which may be necessary for the administration of justice in New South Wales’. The Australian Courts Act 1828 vested in the Supreme Court jurisdiction similar to that of the Courts of common law at Westminster (s. 3), jurisdiction in equity and at common law similar to that of the Lord Chancellor (s. 11) and ecclesiastical jurisdiction (s. 12). The Charter of Justice empowered the Supreme Court to deal with matters of infancy and lunacy. Section 23 of the new Act will not, I believe, have an immediate effect in altering the jurisdiction of the Court. It will rather be the basis for new development as occasion arises, a more serviceable basis than the Acts and Charter of the 1820s with their references to the jurisdictions of the English Courts of that time.”

Ross Bradley’s assumption that the Charters are not able to be altered or amended in any way are therefore addressed by section 29 of the Australian Constitutions Act 1850, 9 which provides:

“And be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for the Governors and Councils of the said Colonies of New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land, and Victoria respectively, from Time to Time, by any Act or Acts, to make such Provision as to them may seem meet for the better Administration of Justice, and for defining the Constitution of the Courts of Law and Equity and of Juries, within the said Colonies respectively, or within any present or future Dependencies thereof respectively, anything in the said Act of the Ninth Year of King George the Fourth, or in this Act, or in any Charter of Justice or Order in Council made or issued in pursuance thereof respectively, or in any Law, Statute, or Usage, to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.”

As “A General Introduction to the Supreme Court Act, 1970” explains, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was vested in the Supreme Court by the Australian Courts Act 1828, and the full extent of that jurisdiction was contained in section 12, which states: 10

“Supreme courts to have ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The said supreme courts respectively shall be courts of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and shall have full power and authority to administer and execute within New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, and the dependencies thereof respectively, such ecclesiastical jurisdiction and authority as hath been or shall be committed to the said supreme courts respectively by his Majesty’s said charters or letters patent so issued or to be issued as aforesaid: provided that in all cases where the executor or executors of any will, upon being duly cited, shall refuse or neglect to take out probate, or where the next of kin shall be absent, and the effects of the deceased shall appear to the said courts respectively to be exposed and liable to waste, it shall be lawful for the said courts respectively to authorize and empower the registrar or other ministerial officer of the said supreme courts respectively to collect such effects, and hold or deposit or invest the same in such manner and place, or upon such security, and subject to such orders and directions as shall be made, either as applicable in all such cases, or specially in any case, by the said courts respectively, in respect of the custody, control, or disposal thereof.”

So again, this subject matter is specifically for the purposes of probate, relating to wills and deceased estates, and cannot be applied to other matters, which are provided for under various other jurisdictions that were vested in the Supreme Court, such as civil, criminal, equitable, and insolvency jurisdictions. 

 


The litigation history

Bradley v Barber [2016] QCA 053 

“The respondent also submitted that, as to the question that the appellant sought to agitate that Crown Law and/or lawyers instructed by Crown Law could not represent the respondent in the appeal because of a “living man versus living woman” argument, the respondent correctly pointed out that the learned primary judge ruled against the point and the submission made in this Court should be rejected for the same reasons. I agree. There was no substance whatever in the appellant’s argument on this point.

As to whether the matter should properly be regarded as criminal not civil, the learned primary judge ruled against this, correctly. There is no substance in this complaint.”

As to the significance of a decree made by Pope Francis concerning the application of criminal law in the Vatican, the respondent correctly points out that the decree on its face seeks only to make a statement concerning certain aspects of the criminal law in the Vatican City State. The decree has no relevance to this application.

The appellant contended that this Court’s oath of office to the Queen (or affirmation for that matter), somehow required it to apply the law of the Vatican, because the Queen owed her authority to the Holy See. The appellant described this proposition as the foundation of his argument. It was the thing he needed a trial to establish. There was no substance to the argument, as was correctly found by the learned primary judge.” 11

Click to access bradley-v-barber-2016-qca-53.pdf

Bradley v McDermott [2017] QCA 19

“The appellant adds a claim for, yet, another $5,000 against the State of Queensland. The basis for that claim is far from clear. After setting out that relief, the notice of appeal contained several pages of incoherent references to texts and other published sources on the broad subject of “Ecclesiastical Courts and Papal Law”…. I am satisfied that this appeal should be struck out…” 12

Click to access bradley-v-mcdermott-2017-qca-19-2017-1-qd-r-1.pdf

Re Ross-James [2017] QCA 66

“The appellant’s submissions make no legal sense at all. They could not possibly justify review of the decision made by Justice McMurdo. The proposed review or appeal, if that is what it is, has no prospects of success.

It is apparent, however, that the appellant strongly believes in the truth of his submissions and that they do have legal merit. He is very likely, it seems to me, to continue filing documents upon the same fundamentally mistaken view that he has identified some fundamental legal error which, before now, has never been identified. In the circumstances, I make the following orders…. Strike out the notice of appeal filed on the 28th of February 2017; order that the appellant not be permitted to file any document at the Court of Appeal registry relating to CA12753 of 2016 without the leave of the Court or a Judge of appeal.” 13

Click to access re-ross-james-2017-qca-66.pdf

Ross-James v Turnbull [2017] QSC 275

The application refers to “the competent judicial authorities of the Vatican City State”, “purposes of Vatican criminal law” and that the application can be “heard only in the superior ecclesiastical law jurisdiction”. The application is a complete nonsense.

The plaintiff had earlier brought an application filed in this court naming the defendant as “Queensland (a legal person created at law and by any other appellation)” in what was said to be the “ecclesiastical law jurisdiction”. That application came before Boddice J on 3 November 2017. Upon hearing submissions from the applicant and a solicitor of the Crown Solicitor’s office, Boddice J set aside the originating process and dismissed the proceeding. In delivering reasons, his Honour said:

“On 1 November 2017, Ross-James, being his legal name and as a natural person with inherent rights and duties, filed a process before this Court naming the defendant as Queensland (a legal person created at law and by any other appellation). The jurisdiction was said to be the ecclesiastical law jurisdiction. A consideration of the document indicates that what is being sought is said to be a question at law (1) in relation to whether the matter can be heard by a judge of this Court in the superior ecclesiastical law court and, secondly, as to whether as a question the State election that is being called for 25 November 2017 has been called according to law.

The respondent State of Queensland submits that the process ought to be struck out as not being in accordance with the rules. They also submit that the proceedings should be permanently stayed as an abuse of process. Alternatively, they submit it ought to be treated as an application for judicial review or other application and that directions be set in respect of the matter. Ross-James submits that this Court ought to send the matter for hearing.

Having considered the contents of the document and the submissions that have been made by Ross-James, I am satisfied the process ought to be set aside. It is not in accordance with the rules. It does not seek orders that are properly matters for consideration by this Court. It is in a form which in itself is suggesting that the jurisdiction should be the ecclesiastical law jurisdiction. The document is a document which does not give rise to any matter that is properly to be considered by this Court. I order that the originating process be set aside …” 14

This case has a summary of his litigation history that follow the same school of thought, while ignoring the findings in his previous cases.

Click to access ross-james-v-turnbull-2017-qsc-275.pdf

R v Bradley [2018] QCA 163

“The rest of the document contains similar material. The document is therefore both incoherent and incompetent. I direct the registrar to take no further steps in relation to it.” 15

Click to access r-v-bradley-2018-qca-163.pdf

Ross Bradley’s ignorance of the law truly knows no bounds. In 2013 I had cited him dozens of cases establishing that the parliament is the supreme law-making body, but oh no, he still believes the contrary Posse Comitatus myth. If he ends up being declared a vexatious litigant, one could say he really deserves the title. He came so close in Ross-James v Turnbull [2017] QSC 275 (from 28):

“I am satisfied that the applicant is “a person who has frequently instituted or conducted vexatious proceedings in Australia” and a discretion arises to make orders identified in section 6(2) of the Vexatious Proceedings Act. It is unclear to me as to how the applicant intends to prosecute the present application. It has not yet been served upon the Prime Minister. If it is served, the result is inevitable. It will be struck out. That will necessitate an application being brought with unavoidable associated cost and inconvenience and the waste of this Court’s resources. The applicant’s application is baseless and irrational and further proceedings on it should be stayed. The discretion has, in my view, arisen to make an order prohibiting the applicant from commencing proceedings in Queensland. However, “it is a rare thing to declare a person a vexatious litigant,” and thereby deny them access to the courts. I am conscious that there is no application for such an order. In this case then, I consider that the jurisdiction should only be exercised so as to bring to an end the applicant’s present application.

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This appeal for an unlicenced driving conviction was dismissed on the 13th of November 2020, and unfortunately for Ross Bradley’s beliefs, it was not in an “ecclesiastical jurisdiction” as he’d hoped. He finally conceded to placing a friendly wager with me on the outcome of this case a few months prior, so I reminded him that very afternoon he now owes me $100. But being the generous bloke I am, I offered a “double or nothing” bet on the outcome of his next case.

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Bradley v The Crown [2020] QCA 252  

“The argument was obvious nonsense and the magistrate rightly rejected it. Not satisfied with this outcome, the applicant appealed to the District Court and argued that he was something which he called a citizen sovereign and that the laws of Queensland did not apply to him. If that was true, then it would be hard to understand why the applicant was agitating his complaints before this court, which is one that has been established under the laws that he says do not apply to him. This paradox did not trouble the applicant and he has now applied for leave to appeal against Judge Moynihan QC’s order dismissing his appeal. That the applicant is merely persisting in putting forward a jumble of gobbledygook to support his application in this court can be seen at once if one reads only the two opening sentences of his purported outline of argument:

“My BRADLEY person (conjoined with the BRADLEY ‘spiritual’ family body-politic) is my own “body politic” by succession, at Law. It is my natural body incorporated at the supreme Christian Law and is my own jurisdiction.” 16

Click to access bradley-v-the-crown-2020-qca-252.pdf

News reports from The Courier Mail and The Australian  17

Ross James Bradley_ Sovereign citizen argues laws don’t apply to him-page-001


In 2020 Ross Bradley dobbed me in to the Governor for “blasphemy and contempt of the Crown”. He expects the sheriffs to come and arrest me any day now, I hope she got a good laugh out of his email, I certainly did.

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A debate with Ross Bradley on a post on his Facebook page, 18 establishing that he has no evidence that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is any broader than the matters relating to probate, wills and last testaments, deceased estates etc, which has long been provided for in subsequent enactments since first introduced by the Charters of Justice 1823. 

Click to access ross-bradley-on-the-charters-of-justice-1823.pdf

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