Four New Titles Enrich the Growing Osgoode Society List

Over 100 Titles To Be Published by 2015

A milestone is fast approaching for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.When the Society was founded in 1979, no one could have imagined that so extensive a collection of original research and writing on Canadian legal history would be the result. Bravo to Roy McMurtry and his merry band of authors and editors who have created a body of work that is the envy of the legal publishing world in just over fifty years, and to the university presses and commercial publishers that have supported this venture, including most notably the University of Toronto Press which published three of this year’s four titles.

This year’s offerings demonstrate the scope of its publications including works on the legal system in two provinces, major social issues and a federal law that changed as Canadian society itself was transformed.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal 1792-2013
by Christopher Moore
University of Toronto Press

In Christopher Moore’s lively and engaging history of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, he traces the evolution of one of Canada’s most influential courts from its origins as a branch of the lieutenant governor’s executive council to the post-Charter years of cutting-edge jurisprudence and national influence.

Discussing the issues, personalities, and politics which have shaped Ontario’s highest court, The Court of Appeal for Ontario offers appreciations of key figures in Canada’s legal and political history – including John Beverly Robinson, Oliver Mowat, Bora Laskin, and Bertha Wilson – and a serious examination of what the right of appeal means and how it has been interpreted by Canadians over the last two hundred years. The first comprehensive history of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Moore’s book is the definitive and eminently readable account of the court that has been called everything from a bulwark against tyranny to murderer’s row – U of T Press

Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953-84
by Dominique Clément
University of British Columbia Press

In Equality Deferred, Dominique Clément traces the history of sex discrimination in Canadian law and the origins of human rights legislation. Focusing on British Columbia – the first jurisdiction to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex – he documents a variety of absurd, almost unbelievable, acts of discrimination. Drawing on previously undisclosed human rights commission records, Clément explores the rise and fall of what was once the country’s most progressive human rights legal regime and reveals how political divisions and social movements shaped the human rights state. This book is not only a testament to the revolutionary impact of human rights on Canadian law but also a reminder that it takes more than laws to effect transformative social change – UBC Press

Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte Country, New Brunswick, 1785-1867
by Paul Craven
University of Toronto Press

Until the late nineteenth-century, the most common form of local government in rural England and the British Empire was administration by amateur justices of the peace: the sessions system. Petty Justice uses an unusually well-documented example of the colonial sessions system in Loyalist New Brunswick to examine the role of justices of the peace and other front-line low law officials like customs officers and deputy land surveyors in colonial local government – U of T Press

Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919
by Thomas Telfer
University of Toronto Press

In 1880 the federal Parliament of Canada repealed the Insolvent Act of 1875, leaving debtor-creditor matters to be regulated by the provinces. Almost forty years later, Parliament finally passed new bankruptcy legislation, recognizing that what was once considered a moral evil had become a commercial necessity. In Ruin and Redemption, Thomas GW Telfer analyses the ideas, interests, and institutions that shaped the evolution of Canadian bankruptcy law in this era. Examining the vigorous public debates over the idea of bankruptcy, Telfer argues that the law was shaped by conflict over the morality of release from debts and by the divergence of interests between local and distant creditors. Ruin and Redemption is the first full-length study of the origins of Canadian bankruptcy law, thus making it an important contribution to the study of Canada’s commercial law.Using the rich archival resources of Charlotte County, Paul Craven discusses issues such as the impact of commercial rivalries on local administration, the role of low law officials in resolving civil and criminal disputes and keeping the peace, their management of public works, social welfare, and liquor regulation, and the efforts of grand juries, high court judges, colonial governors, and elected governments to supervise them. A concluding chapter explains the demise of the sessions system in Charlotte County in the decade of Confederation – U of T press.

As always, the Society has a continuous need for funding to support its noble mission. Financial support comes in part from the sales of its publications which can be ordered from the Society. As well as this year’s offerings, one can chose from the backlist which offers something of interest for everyone, whether it be murders, biographies, or collections of essays. As Roy McMurtry invariably says at the annual book launch, the holiday season is at hand and a Society publication would make ideal gift.

The Backlist of Titles Published by the Osgoode Society

Memoirs & Reflections by Roy McMurtry
The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Nation by Charlotte Gray
Lawyers, Families, and Businesses: The Shaping of a Bay Street Law Firm, Faskens 1863-1963 by C. Ian Kyer
Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Volume XI: Quebec and the Canadas edited by G. Blaine Baker and Donald Fyson

Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada by R. Blake Brown
Property on Trial: Canadian Cases in Context edited by Eric Tucker, James Muir & Bruce Ziff\
Broken Grounds: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905 by Shelley Gavigan
The African-Canadians Legal Odyssey: Selected Essays edited by Barrington Walker

The Lazier Murder: Prince Edward County, 1884 by Robert J. Sharpe
Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax by Philip Girard
Dewigged, Bothered and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial by John McLaren
Westward Bound: Sex, Violence, the Law, and the Making of a Settler Society by Lesley Erickson

Work on Trial: Canadian Labour Law Struggles edited by Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker
A History of the British Columbia Court of Appeal by Christopher Moore
Viscount Haldane:Wicked Stepfather of the Canadian Constitution by Frederick Vaughan
Race on Trial:Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1850-1950 by Barrington Walker

Canadian Maverick: The Life and Times of Ivan C. Rand by William Kaplan
A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth Centre Canada by R. Blake Brown
Canadian State Trials, Vol. III, Political Trials and Security Measures, 1840-1914 edited by Barry Wright & Susan Binnie
The Last Day, the Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial by Robert J. Sharpe (2nd edition- originally published in 1988)

Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975 by Constance Backhouse
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. X: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver edited by Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry John Saywell
The Law of the Land: The Advent of the Torrens System in Canada by Greg Taylor
The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies edited by Hamar Foster, Benjamin Berger, A.R. Buck

The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood by Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia McMahon
Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Children of Unmarried Parents Act by Lori Chambers
The Alberta Supreme Court at 100: History & Authority edited by Jonathan Swainger
My Life in Crime and Other Academic Adventures by Martin Friedland

Magistrates, Police & People: Everyday Criminal Justice in Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764-1837 by Donald Fyson
The Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba 1870- 1950: A Biographical History by Dale Brawn
R.C.B. Risk, A History of Canadian Legal Thought: Collected Essays edited and introduced by G. Blaine Baker and Jim Phillips

Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life by Philip Girard
In Search of Justice: An Autobiography by Fred Kaufman
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. IX, Two Islands: Newfoundland & PEI edited by Christopher English

Osgoode Hall: An Illustrated History by John Honsberger
Aggressive in Pursuit: The Life of Justice Emmett Hall by Frederick Vaughan
The Heiress vs. The Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice by Constance Backhouse and Nancy Backhouse
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004; From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle edited by Philip Girard, Jim Phillips & Barry Cahill

Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey by Robert Sharpe and Kent Roach
The Conventional Man: The Diaries of Ontario Chief Justice Robert A Harrison, 1856-1878 edited with an introduction by Peter Oliver
John J. Robinette, Peerless Mentor: An Appreciation by George D. Finlayson
Rule of the Admirals: Law, Custom, and Naval Government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832 by Jerry Bannister

The Law Makers: Judicial Power and the Shaping of Canadian Federalism by John T. Saywell
Colonial Justice: Justice, Morality and Crime in the Niagara District, 1791-1849 by David Murray
Canadian State Trials Volume Two: Rebellion and Invasion in the Canadas, 1837-8 edited by F. Murray Greenwood and Barry Wright
Courted and Abandoned: Seduction in Canadian Law byPatrick Brode

Judging Bertha Wilson: Law as Large as Life by Ellen Anderson
Labour Before the Law: Collective Action in Canada, 1900-1945 by Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker
Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohenby Laurel Sefton MacDowell

‘The Thousandth Man’: A Biography of James McGregor Stewart by Barry Cahill
The Spinster and the Prophet: Florence Deeks, H.G. Wells, and the Mystery of the Purloined Past by A.B. McKillop
Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment by Beverley Boissery and F. Murray Greenwood
Unforeseen Legacies: Reuben Wells Leonard and the Leonard Foundation Trust by Bruce Ziff.

Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-50 by Constance Backhouse
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. VIII, in Honour of R.C.B. Risk edited by G. Blaine Baker and Jim Phillips
Chief Justice W.R. Jackett: By the Law of the Land by Richard Pound
Fulfilment, Memoirs of a Criminal Court Judge by David Vanek

White Man’s Law: Native People in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Jurisprudence by Sidney Harring
‘Terror to Evil-Doers’: Prisons and Punishments in Nineteenth-Century Ontario by Peter Oliver

‘Race’, Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada: Historical Case Studies by James W. St.G. Walker
Married Women and Property Law in Victorian Ontario by Lori Chambers
Casual Slaughters and Accidental Judgments: Canadian War Crimes and Prosecutions, 1944-48 by Patrick Brode
The Federal Court of Canada: A History, 1875-1992 by Ian Bushnell

Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. VII, Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective edited by Carol Wilton
Bad Judgment: The Case of Mr. Justice Leo Landreville by William Kaplan
Canadian State Trials, Vol. I, Law, Politics and Security Measures 1608-1837 edited by F. Murray Greenwood and Barry Wright

Just Lawyers: Seven Portraits, David R. Williams Northern Justice: The Memoirs of Mr. Justice William G. Morrow edited by W.H. Morrow
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. VI, British Columbia and the Yukon edited by Hamar Foster and John McLaren
A Deep Sense of Wrong, The Treason, Trials, and Transportation to New South Wales of Lower Canadian Rebels After the 1838 Rebellion by Beverley Boissery

A Passion for Justice: The Legacy of James Chalmers McRuer by Patrick Boyer
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. V., Crime and Criminal Justice edited by Jim Phillips, Tina Loo & Susan Lewthwaite
The Life and Times of Arthur Maloney: The Last of the Tribunes, Charles Pulled
The Politics of Codification: The Lower Canadian Civil Code of 1866 by Brian Young

Legacies of Fear: Law and Politics in Quebec in the Era of the French Revolution by F. Murray Greenwood
Policing Canada’s Century: A History of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police by Greg Marquis

Speedy Justice: The Tragic Last Voyage of His Majesty’s Vessel Speedy by Brendan O’Brien
Provincial Justice: Upper Canadian Legal Portraits from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography edited by Robert Fraser

Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada by Constance Backhouse

Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. III, Nova Scotia edited by Philip Girard and Jim Phillips
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. IV, Beyond the Law, Lawyers and Business in Canada 1830-1930 edited by Carol Wilton

The Genesis of the Canadian Criminal Code of 1892 by Desmond Brown
The Odyssey of John Anderson by Patrick Brode

Middleton: The Beloved Judge by John Arnup

The Fiercest Debate: Cecil A. Wright, the Benchers and Legal Education in Ontario,1923-1957 by C. Ian Kyer and Jerome Bickenbach

Mr. Attorney: The Attorney General for Ontario in Court, Cabinet and Legislature, 1791-1899 by Paul Romney
The Case of Valentine Shortis: A True Story of Crime and Politics in Canada by Martin Friedland

The Supreme Court of Canada: History of the Institution by James Snell and Frederick Vaughan

Sir John Beverley Robinson: Bone and Sinew of the Compact by Patrick Brode
Duff, A Life in the Law by David R. Williams

Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. II edited by David H. Flaherty

Cornerstones of Order: Courthouses and Town Halls of Ontario, 1784-1914 by Marion MacRae & Anthony Adamson

Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. I edited by David H. Flaherty


  1. I’m still waiting for “Necessary Punctuation: The Rise of the Two Part Title (separated by a colon) in Nonfiction Publishing”