The Osgoode Society’s 2010 Publishing Program

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History has announced its 2010 Publishing Programme. According to an announcement published in the 2009 Annual Reports and available on their website at, this year the Society will publish four new works:

1. Work on Trial: Canadian Labour Law Struggles
edited by Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker and published for the Osgoode Society by Irwin Law. $45 incl GST.

2. A History of the British Columbia Court of Appeal
by Christopher Moore and published for the Osgoode Society by the University of British Columbia Press. $45 incl GST.

3. Viscount Haldane: Wicked Stepfather of the Canadian Constitution
by Frederick Vaughan and published for the Osgoode Society by the University of Toronto Press. $48 incl GST.

4. Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1850-1950
by Barrington Walker and published for the Osgoode Society by the University of Toronto Press. $40 incl GST.

The stated purpose of the Osgoode Society is “to study and promote public interest in the history of the law, the legal profession and the judiciary in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada and to stimulate research and publication on these subjects”.

Set out below are the marketing blurbs that describe this year’s offerings in greater detail.

Work on Trial – “The world of work, so important to individuals’ economic well-being and to their sense of self, has been fundamentally shaped by law, both collective bargaining law and individual employment law. We are grateful to Professors Fudge and Tucker for putting together this volume, which looks behind significant Canadian court battles over many aspects of labour law to unearth the historical context of the cases and analyse the individuals involved. Authors from across the country each take on a famous labour case in a series of case studies, from early cases about constitutional jurisdiction (Snider; John East), though picketing classics (Hersees; Harrison v. Carswell), to more recent employment law and human rights milestones (Wallace; Meioren). Each chapter tells an interesting story of how and why the case got to court and how the issues were resolved. This volume will interest not just those in the labour and employment law field; anybody concerned with the litigation process will enjoy reading the details of what lies behind the law reports.”

A History of the British Columbia Court of Appeal – “The Court of Appeal of British Columbia began sitting in 1910, and this volume thus coincides with the court’s centenary. Renowned historian Christopher Moore has produced a masterful account of the court, one that combines narrative, biographical and analytical histories of a major provincial judicial institution over one hundred years. Anchored by rich detailed studies of the court’s judges, it provides also extensive data on court organisation, administration, and caseload. Each chapter also includes vignettes of famous and unusual cases dealt with by the court, as well as commentary on the ways in which the court’s work both reflected and influenced the province’s history. This book is the Osgoode Society’s fifth court history, and we hope that it will serve as both inspiration and model for many other histories of our country’s courts.”

Viscount Haldane: Wicked Stepfather of the Canadian Constitution – “Lord Haldane is well-known to historians of Canadian constitutional law as one of the Privy Council judges most responsible for re-shaping the division of powers in the direction of greater provincial power after World War One. In this deeply-researched biography Fred Vaughan, author of a biography of Emmett Hall published by the Osgoode Society in 2004, puts Haldane’s Canadian decisions in the context both of Haldane’s life and thought and prior Canadian jurisprudence. Haldane’s education, his devotion to Hegelian philosophy, his work as a leading barrister, his various causes, especially education reform, and his service in the War Cabinet are all analysed, as are some intriguing personality quirks. What emerges is a picture of a complex and deeply principled jurist, and a better understanding of why we got the constitutional division of powers that we did.”

Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1850-1950 – “In recent years legal historians have been increasingly interested in the social history of the law and in the law’s impact on, among many other social phenomena, race relations. This ground-breaking study investigates the relationship between Ontario’s black community and the criminal courts from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Using a sample comprised of capital case files and the assize records for Kent and Essex counties, counties with relatively large black populations because they were termini of the underground railroad, Professor Walker investigates the ‘limits of freedom’ for Ontario’s African Canadians. He contrasts formal legal equality with pervasive patterns of social, economic and attitudinal inequality. The records allow him not only to analyse attitudes of the dominant community, but also to provide rare glimpses into black life in the Canadian past.”

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