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Monday, June 11, 2018

Announcement of Osgoode Society AGM and reception


Members of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History are invited to join us at the Annual General Meeting on June 14th at 5:30 pm in the Museum Room at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St.W. where they will elect the Board of Directors for the coming year.

Following reports on The Osgoode Society's finances and programmes for publishing and oral history, and presentation of our awards, Professors Jim Phillips and Philip Girard will discuss their upcoming book , A History of Law in Canada Volume 1: Beginnings to 1866, which is also the members' selection for 2018. 

A wine and cheese reception will follow the meeting. We hope that you will join us.
You can access our annual report on our website at

If you have not renewed your membership, you may do so by visiting our website

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Osgoode Society Summer Book Sale!

JUNE 11-23, 2018

Our back catalogue is on sale for $10 per book plus shipping

Looking for a good book to read this summer? Missing something from the more than 100 books published by the Osgoode Society?

Whether you’re looking for biographies or collections of essays, we have something for every reader.

Simply fill out the
form  (pdf) and email it to the Osgoode Society. As a bonus, every person who purchases a book will receive a free copy of Cornerstones of Order: Courthouses and Town Halls of Ontario, 1784-1914 by Marion MacRae and Anthony Adamson (shipping not included).

We will contact you once we process your order, which will include an estimate for the cost of shipping if applicable (since you will be able to pick up your books at the Osgoode Society's office for free).

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Canadian State Trials vol. 5, 1939-circa 1990: Call for Chapter Proposals or Expressions of Interest

Canadian State Trials, Volume 5 Call for Expressions of Interest and Chapter Proposals 

Editors Susan Binnie, Eric Tucker and Barry Wright have commenced planning for the fifth volume of the Canadian State Trials series and invite expressions of interest and proposals for chapter contributions.

The planned Canadian State Trials Volume 5 will examine Canadian political trials, national security measures and related legal developments and proceedings for the period c.1939 to the 1980s or early 90s. As with the previous volumes we seek scholarly studies that balance historical and legal analyses. Context for these studies may include a comparative perspective that refers to other jurisdictions. Collaborative work is welcome.

We anticipate that the volume will include chapters on the following topics or related matters:

-The administration of the War Measures Act and military justice in the Second World War (e.g., the registration of ‘enemy aliens,’ suspension of habeas corpus and internments, deportation, war-time trials, post war discriminatory measures and labour regulation).

-The Cold War (e.g., Gouzenko Affair, Kellock-Taschereau Royal Commission, Official Secrets Act and related trials; Emergency Powers Act 1951; Criminal Code amendments to espionage and political offences).

-Organized labour and resort to political policing and criminal proceedings (e.g., anti-Communist purges in the 1950’s; injunctions and contempt proceedings in the 1950’s and 1960’s).

-Indigenous assertion of rights and resistance to continuing Canadian state impingement (e.g., cases around hunting rights, treaty violations, repressive responses and compromise of procedural rights).

-National unity and the Felquiste (Front de Libération du Québec) trials, 1962-72.

-Aftermath of the October Crisis, 1970 and the McDonald Royal Commission.

The editors welcome expressions of interest in possible contributions on the above topics and related matters.

Please contact us by 15 September 2018 (,,, with a brief description of your background (research experience and qualifications) and a proposal of no more than one page.

The editors will review these submissions, finalize the volume contents, and follow up with all those who have contacted us shortly after that time. Selected contributors will be provided with more detailed guidelines and asked to complete a chapter draft of 10-12,000 words by August 2019

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ian Kyer interviewed on Champlain Society Podcast on "Lawyers, Families and Business"

If you subscribe to the Champlain Society's Podcast, Witness to Yesterday, (it's a good one) be sure to check out their most recent episode. Greg Marchildon interviews Ian Kyer on "Lawyers, Families and Business."
Ian is the author of Lawyer's Families and Business: The Shaping of a Bay Street Law Firm, Faskens, 1863-1963, published by the Osgoode Society and Irwin Law in 2013.

Essays on the life of Justice Gerald LeDain

Tracings of Gerald Le Dain's Life in the Law, edited by G. Blaine Baker from McGill-Queen's University Press available for pre-order.

The life and work of a leading Canadian legal academic, university administrator, law reformer, and judge.

Tracings of Gerald Le Dain's Life in the LawGerald Le Dain (1924-2007) was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1984. This collectively written biography traces fifty years of his steady, creative, and conciliatory involvement with military service, the legal academy, legislative reform, university administration, and judicial decision-making.

This book assembles contributions from the in-house historian of the law firm where Le Dain first practised, from students and colleagues in the law schools where he taught, from a research associate in his Commission of Inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs, from two of his successors on the Federal Court of Appeal, and from three judicial clerks to Le Dain at the Supreme Court of Canada. Also reproduced here is a transcript of a recent CBC documentary about his 1988 forced resignation from the Supreme Court following a short-term depressive illness, with commentary from Le Dain’s family and co-workers.

Gerald Le Dain was a tireless worker and a highly respected judge. In a series of essays that cover the different periods and dimensions of his career, Tracings of Gerald Le Dain’s Life in the Law is an important and compassionate account of one man's commitment to the law in Canada.

Contributors include Harry W. Arthurs, G. Blaine Baker, Bonnie Brown, Rosemary Cairns-Way, John M. Evans, Melvyn Green, Bernard J. Hibbitts, Peter W. Hogg, Richard A. Janda, C. Ian Kyer, Andree Lajoie, Gerald E. Le Dain, Allen M. Linden, Roderick A. Macdonald, Louise Rolland, and Stephen A. Scott.

Congratuations to Eric Adams and Jordan Strange-Ross for two CHA/ SHC article prizes

Congratulations to Eric Adams and Jordan Strange-Ross, whose 2017 article
"Promises of Law: the Unlawful Dispossession ofJapanese Canadians" received two (!) awards at this year's CHA meetings at Congress: best article in political history and best article in history of migration and ethnicity.

The article appeared in the Osgoode Hall Law Journal vol.54, no 3.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Osgoode Society award winners announced!

Congratulations to this years' award winners!

The Osgoode Society awards two prizes every year, and one every other year. Each award is decided on by a committee consisting of Jim Phillips and two others, mostly, though not entirely, Osgoode Society Directors. We would like to thank all those who helped make the various selections for 2018. Our award winners will be formally announced, and the awards presented, at the Annual Meeting. 

The Peter Oliver Prize, given for published work in Canadian legal history by a student, goes to David Sandomierski for his article ‘Tension and Reconciliation in Canadian Contract Law Casebooks,’ in (2017) 54 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 1181.

 The Hon. R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Canadian Legal History attracted a strong field of candidates, and the committee chose two co-winners. One co-winner is Chandra Murdoch, a PhD student in the History Department at the University of Toronto, who is working on the application of the first Indian Act (1876) in Ontario. The other co-winner is Daniel Murchison, a PhD student in the History Department at York University, who is working on the effects of legal change on land-holding and family structure among the indigenous peoples of the Red River valley. 

The John T. Saywell Prize in Canadian Constitutional Legal History has been awarded to Peter Russell, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto, for his 2017 book, Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests. The book is a wonderfully readable constitutional history of Canada, written by this country’s foremost political scientist/historian of our constitution.