Search This Blog

Friday, December 23, 2016

Welcome to Amanda Campbell, incoming Osgoode Society Adminstrator

We are pleased to announce that our new administrator, replacing the retiring Marilyn Macfarlane, is Amanda Campbell, formerly of the educational publisher Pearson Canada.

The selection committee was very impressed with the number and quality of applications for the administrator position. After a number of meetings and interviews with some stellar candidates, Amanda was our unanimous choice. She will start on January 3rd, working out of the Society's office in Osgoode Hall. Her email address is

Welcome, Amanda! We know we will enjoy working with you.

Osgoode Society Young Lawyers' Evening

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History invites young members of the profession for an evening of discussion and engagement with legal history. Justice Sharpe, judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and President of the Osgoode Society, will speak about the benefits of knowing more about our profession's rich and varied past. 
Please join us on January 23, 2017, at Osgoode Hall in the Museum Room from 5:30-7:30. The event is free to attend, and refreshments will be available. Please RSVP to Space is limited.

Retirement of Marilyn Macfarlane

Marilyn Macfarlane has recently retired as Administrator of the Osgoode Society after more than 30 years of service to the organisation. 
We will mark this occasion with a retirement dinner for Marilyn on Tuesday January 31st at Osgoode Hall. Reception at 6, followed by dinner at 7. Members, authors, directors, former directors and any and all friends of the Osgoode Society and Marilyn are very welcome. Please save the date. In the New Year more details, and information on how to sign up,  will be posted on the Society’s website.

Thanks for all your help to the publishers, editors, authors and members of the Society over the years, Marilyn. You will be missed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

CFP: Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History

Le francais suit

Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History

From July 16 to 18, 2017, the Faculties of Law and Arts at the University of Calgary will jointly host  “Canada’s Legal Past: Future Directions in Canadian Legal History,” and we are seeking expressions of interest and abstracts. Canadian legal history has come into its own in the last thirty-five years, as scholars have moved to examine law within the context of cultural, philosophical and larger historical frames. This conference will provide an opportunity to take stock of the last generation of work on Canada’s legal history and to assess what comes next, in terms of topics, methodologies, sources, and theories. The majority of the papers will be original papers on recent work, but we are also hoping to attract historiographical scholarship that will identify future topics and approaches. The anniversary of the country will inspire reflections on the longer story of northern North America. We are hoping participants will locate the historical project that was and is Canada within the larger context of empires – indigenous and European – and the world and to consider questions of law’s relationship to the tension between local and faraway influences; to gender, race and indigeneity; to state-building, trade and commerce; and to the circulation of ideas, legal, cultural, religious, economic and otherwise. This conference will also provide an opportunity for discussions of the teaching of legal history in different disciplinary contexts within the academy, as it is is hoped that scholars from a range of disciplinary homes and backgrounds – working in French and English – will take part.

Abstracts should be submitted by February 1 to Lyndsay Campbell (, but early expressions of interest would be most welcome. Please do pass this call for papers along.  

* * *

Passé juridique du Canada : les orientations futures de l’histoire juridique canadienne

Du 16 au 18 juillet 2017, les facultés de droit et des arts de l’Université de Calgary seront l’hôte du colloque intitulé « Passé juridique du Canada : les orientations futures de l’histoire juridique canadienne », et nous invitons les intéressé-e-s à soumettre des manifestations d’intérêt et des résumés. L’histoire juridique canadienne s’est fait une place depuis les trente-cinq dernières années, avec des chercheur-euse-s qui ont envisagé le droit dans les contextes culturel, philosophique et historique plus vastes. Ce colloque sera l’occasion de faire le bilan de la dernière génération de travaux sur l’histoire juridique du Canada et d’évaluer les sujets, les méthodologies, les sources et les théories à venir. La majorité des communications seront des communications originales portant sur des travaux récents, mais nous souhaitons également attirer des travaux historiographiques qui permettront d’identifier les sujets et les approches futures. L’anniversaire du pays va inspirer des réflexions sur l’ensemble de l’histoire du nord de l’Amérique du Nord. Nous espérons que les participant-e-s aborderont le projet historique qui a été et qui est le Canada, dans le contexte plus large des empires (peuples autochtones et européens) et du monde, et qu'ils/elles examineront la relation du droit quant à la tension entre les influences locales et lointaines; au genre, à la race et à l'indigénéité; à la création d'états et du commerce; et à la circulation d’idées juridiques, culturelles, religieuses, économiques et autres. Ce colloque sera également l’occasion de discuter de l’enseignement de l’histoire du droit dans différents contextes disciplinaires au sein de l’académie, puisque nous espérons que des universitaires provenant de différents milieux disciplinaires et travaillant en français et en anglais y prendront part.

Les résumés doivent être soumis au plus tard le 1er février, à Lyndsay Campbell (, mais des manifestations d’intérêt envoyées plus tôt sont certainement les bienvenues. Veuillez s’il vous plaît partager cet appel à communications.  

* * *

Conference organizers / Les organisateurs et organisatrices du colloque :
  • Blake Brown, History and Atlantic Canada Studies, St. Mary’s University (
  • Lyndsay Campbell, Law and History, University of Calgary (
  • Ted McCoy, Law & Society and Sociology, University of Calgary (
  • Nicole O’Byrne, Law, University of New Brunswick (
  • Adrian Smith, Law and Legal Studies, Institute of Political Economy, and Institute of African Studies, Carleton University (

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Forthcoming from UTP: Wetstein and Ostberg, Value Change in the SCC

Forthcoming from UTP (Spring 2017)


By Matthew E. Wetstein and C.L. Ostberg
Value Change in the Supreme Court of CanadaValue Change in the Supreme Court of Canada is a groundbreaking analysis of the degree to which Supreme Court decisions reflect the changing values of society over the past four decades. Focusing on three key areas of law: environmental disputes, free speech, and discrimination cases, Wetstein and Ostberg provide a revealing analysis of the language used by Supreme Court justices in landmark rulings in order to document the way that value changes are transmitted into the legal and political landscape.
Bolstered by a comprehensive and nuanced blend of research methods, Value Change in the Supreme Court of Canada offers a sweeping analysis of pre- and post-Charter influences, one that will be of significant interest to political scientists, lawyers, journalists, and anyone interested in the increasingly powerful role of the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Revised and updated schedule/Songheees Conference: First Nations, Land and James Douglas

(Via Hamar Foster, on behalf of the Conference Steering Committee) 

The Songhees Nation and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law and History Department invite you to a symposium entitled:

First Nations, Land and James Douglas:

Indigenous and Treaty Rights in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia,

February 24-26th, 2017

Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria, BC.

The symposium will start with tours of Songhees traditional territory by land and sea on Friday the 24th followed by a mix of academic and community presentations.

Please visit the symposium website for more information and to register (registration deadline February 10th):


UPDATED: Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop 2017 winter term

*Please note the room changes and addition of April 5th session*


All sessions in Flavelle 219 (formerly Faculty Lounge) except those of February 8 and 22nd.
All  sessions start at 6.30 p.m

Wednesday January 11 – Dennis Molinaro, Trent University: “The Official Secret.”

Wednesday January 25 – Anna Jarvis, York University: “Colonial criminal justice and the Mi'kmaq: the case of Tom Williams, Prince Edward Island, 1839”.

Wednesday February 8 – Bill Wylie, Independent Scholar: The “Majestic Equality” of the Law: Diverging Views on the Reform of the Civil Law and Courts in Upper Canada, 1841-1857.”
(Jackman P120)****new

Wednesday, February 22 - David Chan Smith, Wilfrid Laurier University: "Social expectations, Self-interest, and the Public Good: Rethinking the Early Common Law Corporation."
(Jackman 125) 

Wednesday March 8 – Ashley Rubin, University to Toronto: “America’s Proto-Prisons Revisited: The Innovation of Proto-Prisons and the Diffusion of the Walnut Street Model, 1785-1822."

Wednesday March 22 – Chandra Murdoch, University of Toronto: TBA

Wednesday, April 5 – Sally Hadden, Western Michigan University: "The Last British Justice in Revolutionary America: Charleston's Board of Police, 1780-1782."