In 1836 Sir John Jeffcott was appointed the first judge of South Australia.  After losing his belongings in a shipwreck en route to South Australia, Sir John purchased £150 worth of books from Van Diemens Land for his personal use.

By 1848, legal practitioners were demanding the establishment of a law library and petitioned the Legislative Council in 1854 stating ‘their urgent want of a library of reference of legal works’.  The Colonial Secretary arranged for £300 to be provided for the establishment of a law library.

In 1856 a law library for the judiciary and the legal profession was set up in the office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  The Registrar, Mr Cleland, was appointed Law Librarian in addition to his role as Registrar of Births, Death and Marriages.

The library remained in Mr Cleland's office until 1865 when it was relocated to the Supreme Court in the original part of the building which is now the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

1873 – 1990s

In 1873 the library moved with the Supreme Court to its present location at 1 Gouger Street, initially occupying rooms on the first floor of the western wing.

The library collection was significantly increased by two major bequests: Sir Samuel Way's bequest of 2,300 books in 1916 and Sir Herbert Angas Parson's bequest of his private law library to the Supreme Court in 1945.

In 1958 the Library Building was erected and the library moved to its current location on the 2nd floor of the new building in 1959.  By 1984 the library collection had grown to 65,000 volumes and increased to 100,000 volumes by the late 1990s.

Sir Samuel Way Library

With the development of the Sir Samuel Way Law Courts Building in 1983, it was decided to incorporate a new library in the building and consolidate the existing libraries for the Adelaide Magistrates Court, the Adelaide Children’s Court, District Court judges, Sturt Street magistrates, Planning Appeal Commissioners and Local Court magistrates into one library, the Sir Samuel Way Library.

It was also decided for all courts to be administered by one department, the Courts Department.  In 1993, the Courts Administration Authority was established to provide a means for the judiciary to control the administrative facilities and services required by State courts to carry out their judicial functions.

CAA Library Service

In 2005 the Supreme Court Library and Sir Samuel Way Library were amalgamated to form the Courts Administration Authority Library Service (CAA Library Service).

The Library delivers a comprehensive range of information services and manages access to an extensive collection of legal research resources in print and digital format.

The Library maintains library collections for the Supreme Court, District Court, Magistrates Courts, Youth Court and Environment, Resources and Development Court.

The Supreme Court Library is also a public access library and provides access to legal resources for legal practitioners and public users.


Opening hours
The Supreme Court Library is open from 9.00am - 5.00pm with access by appointment for legal practitioners and members of the public with current court proceedings.
Please email the library to book an appointment.
The library also assists users with information requests received by email or telephone.
Tel: 8204 0488