The Osgoode Society for Legal History Makes It to 100!

After a year of quiet anticipation, the Osgoode Society launched four new titles bringing the total to 100. Surprisingly, little or no fanfare accompanied the momentous occasion. Even the usual collection of literary minded judges were absent, passing on hat should have been major celebration.

While reluctant to say so at an event launching four new titles, the 100th title announced by the Society that evening was in fact the latest offering by Ian Kyer. It was an appropriate acknowledgement of his many contributions to scholarly writing in Canada, on a range of subjects from the history of the Faskens law firm to an historical novel on the relationship of Salieri and Mozart. For Ian, lawyering was clearly his day job.

A Thirty Years’ War: The Failed Public/Private Partnership that Spurred the Creation of the Toronto Transit Commission, 1891–1921
by C. Ian Kyer, published by Irwin Law.

Between 1891 and 1921, the Toronto Railway Company operated Toronto’s streetcars under a franchise granted by the City. The arrangement brought the City a modern electric streetcar system, but the relationship between the two entities was a tempestuous one, marked and marred by almost constant conflict and confrontation. Remarkably, the many court battles that resulted went to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on fourteen separate occasions. This book details these legal disputes, and along the way, links them to the city’s expansion and development, its municipal politics, the provincial debates over public ownership of many kinds of utilities, and the legal culture of the day, which reveals a remarkable faith in the courts. This is a fascinating historical story set in its own time and milieu, but which also has considerable contemporary relevance as Toronto — and Canada’s other major urban centres — wrestle with their modern transportation problems. It will be of interest not only to legal historians, but also to those interested in transit and municipal history, and in the correct balance between public and private ownership.

The three other titles announced earlier this year included the following:

Security and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace: Canadian State Trials, Volume IV, 1914-1939, edited by Barry Wright, Eric Tucker and Susan Binnie, published by the University of Toronto Press.

This latest in the collection of State Trials series looks at the legal issues raised by the repression of dissent from the outset of World War One through the 1930’s and the Great Depression. All the regions of the country are covered with special attention given in one essay to the repression of radicalism in Quebec. the volume focuses attention on older manifestations of contemporary dilemma: what are acceptable limits of dissent in a democracy, and what limits should be placed on state responses to perceived challenges to its authority.

“Honorary Protestants”: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997, by David Fraser, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867 guaranteed certain educational rights to Catholics and Protestants in Quebec, but not to anyone else. The study of the challenges, legal and otherwise, encountered by Jewish parents in educating their children in Montreal in the shadow of s. 93 will undoubtedly became the standard works on the subject. Faced wit alternating periods of hostility and tolerance, the Jewish community of Montreal carved out an educational modus vivendi based on complex and continuing negotiations with the Protestant and Catjholic school boards, the provincial government, and individual municipalities. Bargaining in the shadow of the law, the parties made their own constitutions long before the constitutional amendment of 1997 finally put and end to the Jewish school question.

Law, Life and Government in Red River, by Dale Gibson, published by McGill Queen’s University Press.

The General Quarterly Court of Assiniboia can be justly called the first “British” court in Western Canada. Although there were predecessor institutions and judicial arrangements for hearing criminal and civil cases, the establishment of the Quarterly Court in the 1830’s put the administration of justice in the Red River region on a firm and regularized footing. Professor Gibson’s comprehensive history of the Court waves together the legal history of the Red River with its social, economic and political history. At the centrepiece of the book sits the complete court proceedings of the General Quarterly Court from 1844 until 1872, which are examined in detail and in context to provide a compelling narrative of the administration of substantial rather than formal justice in a company community.

As has been noted on prior occasions, the support of members of the legal profession through the purchase of titles from the Osgoode Society is critical to the process of continuing to document the legal history of Canada. Books may be order from the Osgoode Society directly at

The Backlist of Titles Published by the Osgoode Society


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

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

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

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


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, 1870-1905by 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 Trialby 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 Essaysedited 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 Rebellionby 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 Speedyby 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

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