Benjamin Boothby (5 February 1803 – 21 June 1868) was a South Australian colonial judge, who was removed from office for misbehaviour.
Boothby, in a series of judgments, adopted a pedantic approach to Imperial Law, holding a number of South Australian statutes invalid, including the Real Property Act 1857, which introduced the Torrens system of land registration in South Australia. Boothby also asserted that the Parliament of South Australia had not been validly constituted since the enactment of the Constitution Act 1855-56.
In 1865, partly in response to the approach taken by Boothby, the Imperial Parliament passed the Colonial Laws Validity Act, confirming the authority of the colonial Parliament to pass legislation different from that passed by the Imperial Parliament. However, Boothby continued to create difficulties, refusing to acknowledge the authority of the Attorney-General and challenging the legality of the appointments of the other two Judges of the Supreme Court on the basis that only British-trained barristers could be appointed.
Proceedings were commenced to remove Boothby from office on the ground of misbehaviour. The charges were found proved and the Judge was "amoved" on 29 July 1867. Boothby took formal steps to appeal this decision to the Privy Council, but died before the appeal was heard.
In May 1827, he married Maria Bradbury Robinson. In 1853, he moved to Adelaide with his wife and twelve children. In total, they had fifteen children. These included:
- William Robinson (1829-1903) - eldest son born 26 September 1829 at Nottingham, England. Occupation was an Electoral Officer. Migrated to Australia with his parents during 1853. On 23 June 1863 he married Frances Elizabeth Lawrence; they had two sons and two daughters.
- Benjamin (1831-1883) - second son. On 1 December 1859 he married Mary Ann Warland; they had six sons.
- Josiah (1837-1916) - seventh child. On 10 October 1861 he married Susannah Hinds Lawrence (1834-1918); they had five daughters.
- Thomas Wilde (1839-1885) - ninth child. On 10 March 1864 he married Mary Agnes Hodding (1843-1907); of their three sons, Guy Newell (1867-1905) won fame overseas as a novelist. Guy Newell Boothby born 12 October 1867 in Adelaide, South Australia, he became a member of the House of Assembly of South Australia and a novelist - he wrote the libretto for two comic operas Sylvia (1890, Adelaide) and The Jonquil (1891)
- G. N. Hawker, 'Boothby, William Robinson (1829-1903)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 196-197.
- G. N. Hawker, 'Boothby, Benjamin (1831-1883)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 196-197.
- G. N. Hawker, 'Boothby, Josiah (1837-1916)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 196-197.
- G. N. Hawker, 'Boothby, Thomas Wilde (1839 - 1885)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 196-197.
- 'Boothby, Guy Newell (1867-1905)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp 347-348.
- P.A. Howell, The Boothby Case. Unpublished M. A. Thesis, University of Tasmania, 1965.
- R M Hague, Hague's History of the Law in South Australia 1837-1867 (Adelaide, 2005)
- Alex C Castles, 'Boothby, Benjamin (1803-1868)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 194–196.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). " Boothby, His Honour Benjamin". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource