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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Richardson on Regulation Competition in Accounting

Alan J. Richardson of the Schulich School of Business, York University, writes in the March 2011 issue of the Accounting History Review on "Regulatory competition in accounting: A history of the Accounting Standards Authority of Canada."

Another one for the low law fans and those interested in the 1980s. As I think I have mentioned before, I don't understand why accounting and auditing are not given more attention by legal historians. Other than maybe that accounting, like math, is hard :). And kind of dry. With statistical models. And likely to be published in journals that are out of the usual ambit of legal academics and historians.... 

But for the very smart, hardy, or economically trained, there's this.

This article examines a unique period (1981-1998) in Canadian accounting standard-setting history when, nominally, two competing standard-setting bodies existed: the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the nascent Accounting Standards Authority of Canada. Sunder (2002a, 2002b) advocates competing accounting standard-setting regimes within a single jurisdiction to allow firms to voluntarily select standards that reflect their business model and provide the lowest cost-of-capital. This situation, however, is rare and has not been examined empirically. The existence of competing standards assumes the existence of competing standard-setters, but the entry of a new standard-setter into the domain of an existing standard-setter faces numerous obstacles. The analysis of this case suggests some factors missing from Sunder's model. 

Fanning on Mounties as Social Bonding Agents, Confederation to WWI

Fans of legal pluralism and low law may be interested in this one.

Soren Fanning of Robert Morris University, "Forging a Frontier: Social Capital and Canada's Mounted Police, 1867–1914" in the December 2012 issue of American Review of Canadian Studies.
This article examines the role of the North West Mounted Police in creating communities in the Canadian Prairies during the first decades of Confederation. Despite being created as an institution of law enforcement, the Mounted Police acted more often as a social bonding agent, creating the necessary conditions and organizations required to establish permanent communities otherwise isolated from one another. As the only federal presence in the frontier, the force evolved into an autonomous institution of cultural stability, performing vital services and advocating for frontier objectives to the government in Ottawa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Room change for launch of "Law Books in Action"

Please note a change of room for the book launch for "Law Books in Action," edited by Angela Fernandez and Markus Dubber. The launch, originally to be held in the Rowell Room, Flavelle House, U of T Faculty of Law, will now be held in the Faculty Common Room, same building. The time and date remain the same: Thursday, November 29, 2012, 7 pm.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Two legal history articles in December, 2012 issue of CHR

The table of contents for the upcoming issue of the Canadian Historical Review shows two articles with a legal history slant.

Dan Malleck of Brock University writes on "The Same as a Private Home? Social Clubs, Public Drinking, and Liquor Control in Ontario, 1934–1944" :
Along with regulating the sales of liquor in provincial stores, overseeing the manufacture of alcohol, and inspecting the public drinking establishments in the province, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario issued beverage licences to private clubs. This paper examines the challenges of regulating the activities of drinkers in semi-private spaces and asks how the lcbo applied the notion of public space to establishments that were not entirely public. The legislation permitting drinking in clubs appears to have been based upon a narrow idea of the elite social club. The administrators of the board quickly found that the residents of the province saw socialization in a variety of forms. In keeping with its regulatory activities in the public drinking establishments, the lcbo attempted to address individual challenges and problems based upon the unique characteristics of each club. It assessed club management, the type of clientele, and the activities of the club. It then evaluated whether certain transgressions or special dispensations would present a challenge to social order. In effect, the nuanced evaluation and careful application of the rules characterized the regulation of semi-private drinking in the province of Ontario. The article argues that, in contrast to Habermas's idea that the development of a public sphere resulted in freer public discussion and debate, in the lcbo regulatory activities, the term public implied an added responsibility to behave in certain constrained ways. At least when having a drink.

And Ruth Frager of McMaster and Carmela Patrias of Brock write on "Human Rights Activists and the Question of Sex Discrimination in Postwar Ontario":

This article examines the varied understandings of human rights in Ontario in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The article compares the social origins and implementation of Ontario's Fair Employment Practices Act – which combatted racist and religious discrimination – with Ontario's Female Employees Fair Remuneration Act – which mandated equal pay for women who did the same work as men. Although a few feminists called for the Fair Employment Practices Act to prohibit sex discrimination as well, their pleas fell mainly on deaf ears in this period. Men and women who fought against racist injustice were frequently unaware of gender injustice, for they, like so many others, subscribed to the deeply embedded ideology of the family wage. Conversely, some of the most outspoken advocates of women's rights were unconscious of – or chose to ignore – racism. At the same time, some of the most committed advocates of equal pay for equal work actually reinforced certain conventional assumptions about men's gender privilege at work and at home. Moreover, while the enforcement of both acts was constrained by the conciliatory framework embedded within them, the government officials who were charged with applying both acts interpreted the equal pay act quite narrowly and were significantly more diligent in tackling racist and religious employment discrimination.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Knepper on history of Canadian research into human trafficking

The U of T press has made "History Matters: Canada's Contribution to the First Worldwide Study of Human Trafficking" by Paul Knepper, forthcoming in volume 54 of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice/La Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale available for purchase in advance of publication.

Here's the abstract:

Despite the attention given to the issue of human trafficking, the empirical base for policy making remains problematic. During the 1920s, the League of Nations pioneered research into human trafficking with the first intercontinental study. Field work took place in 28 countries across Europe, the Americas, and the Mediterranean; researchers conducted 6,500 interviews in 14 languages. The fieldwork conducted in Canada, the first and last country to be studied, reveals a great deal about human trafficking research today. The researchers encountered problems familiar to current researchers and their official report contains many of the same conclusions. The discussion here explores the unreliability of statistical estimates, difficulties in researching hidden populations, the lack of cases meeting a legal standard, and claims about the involvement of organized crime. It concludes with comments about the importance of incorporating historical perspective into criminology.

Osgoode Society launches four books

Yesterday in Toronto the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History launched its four books for 2012. The President, R. Roy McMurtry, and the Editor-in-Chief, Jim Phillips, addressed the gathering, as did the authors of the two monographs--Blake Brown and Shelley Gavigan, the editor of one essay collection, Barrington Walker, and one of the co-editors of the other collection, Bruce Ziff. Every speech was enjoyable (and short!) and the usual fine time was had by all. (We do look forward to Bruce Ziff's next publication with the Society, as he will no doubt be required to perform on the banjo in addition to or in lieu of his launch speech.)

The books for 2012 are as follows (note the titles of all have changed from what was announced on the Society's website):

The Members' book, received free by members  (memberships and non-member book order forms here) is Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada by R. Blake Brown, published with the University of Toronto Press.

     "Optional extras" for the year are

Hunger, Horses and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905, by Shelley A. M. Gavigan, published with UBC Press,

The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays, edited by Barrington Walker published with U of T Press,

and last but not least, Property on Trial: Canadian Cases in Context, edited by Eric Tucker, James Muir and Bruce Ziff, published with Irwin Law

Here's the Table of Contents for the latter volume (the ToC for the other collection is not yet in available for cut and paste purposes):

James Muir, Introduction

Bruce Ziff, The Law of Capture, Newfoundland Style

Eric H. Reiter, Nuisance and Neighbourhood in Late Nineteenth-Century Montreal: Drysdale v Dugas in Its Contexts

Jamie Benidickson, KVP: Ontario’s Riparian Resurrection

Philip Girard, Cottages, Covenants and the Cold War: Galbraith v Madawaska Club

Vanessa Gruben, Angela Cameron and Angela Chaisson, “The courts have turned women into slaves for the men of this world”: Irene Murdoch’s Quest for Justice

Eran Kaplinsky, The Zoroastrian Temple in Toronto: A Case Study in Land Use Regulation, Canadian Style

Jim Phillips and Jeremy Martin, Manitoba Fisheries v. The Queen: The Origins of Canada’s De Facto Expropriation Doctrine

Eric Tucker, The Malling of Property Law?: The Toronto Eaton Centre Cases, 1984-1987 and the Right to Exclude

Margaret McCallum, Morgan and Jacobson v. Attorney General for Prince Edward Island

C. Ian Kyer, Reginav. Stewart: Is Information Property?

Nicholas Blomley, Begging to differ: Panhandling, Public Space, and Municipal Property

Patricia L. Farnese, Pirate or Prophet? Monsanto Canada Inc. v Schmeiser

Douglas C. Harris, A Railway, a City, and the Public Regulation of Private Property: CPR v City of Vancouver

Mary Jane Mossman, Afterword–Private Property and the Public Interest: (Re)Telling the Stories of Principles, Places and Parties

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Congratulations to John Beattie!

U of T emeritus professor John Beattie added to his impressive list of honours and recognitions when it was announced at the American Society for Legal History conference in St. Louis that he has been elected an honorary fellow of the Society.
Well-deserved (and maybe just a tad overdue?)
Congratulations, John, from everyone at the Osgoode Society and the Osgoode Legal History Group!

Updated (Room Change): Book launch and Round Table (with Special Guests!) for Fernandez and Dubber, Law Books in Action

UPDATED--ROOM CHANGE: Please note that the book launch scheduled for this Thursday evening will be held in the Faculty Common Room, Flavelle House, not the Rowell Room as previously announced.

A while ago I posted about an exciting collection of essays on the history of the Anglo-American legal treatise, "Law Books in Action" published by Hart and edited by U of T's Angela Fernandez and Markus Dubber.

Angela advises that there are some great sounding events planned around the book, to which everyone interested is invited.

First, there are special guests! Three prominent legal historians will be joining the celebration: Morton Horwitz (Harvard Law School); Bob Gordon (Stanford Law School); and Susanna Blumenthal (University of Minnesota, Faculty of Law).
On Thursday November 29 at 7:00 pm., there will be a book launch in the Rowell Room (Flavelle House, U of T Faculty of Law.) Copies of the book will be available for sale and authors will be on hand.
The next day, Friday November 30 from 10:30-12, in the Solarium (Falconer Hall, U of T Faculty of Law) the editors and guests will participate in a roundtable discussion providing commentary on and reactions to the book.
This is a terrific collection, and it's wonderful to see it getting this attention and support. I hope to see many of you at both events.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mawani, "Law's Archive" on SSRN

Renisa Mawani of the Department of Sociology at UBC has posted "Law's Archive" on SSRN. The paper will appear in volume 8 of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.

Here's the abstract:

The archival turn has followed a long, protracted, and spiraled trajectory through the fields of history, historical anthropology, philosophy, and literary studies. Animated by the cultural turn and shaped by the challenges of poststructuralism, subaltern, and postcolonial studies, critics have formulated history's archive not solely as a repository of sources through which to retrieve and/or assemble the past but as an uneven effect of power and a set of contested truth claims through which history itself has been a site of struggle. Law and legal studies, by contrast, have had curiously little to say on the subject. That the archive has been the topic of such vibrant debate and disagreement outside of law but not within it is a problematic that informs this review. This article revisits the spirited and now familiar debates in history and these other fields and asks how these critical engagements—which have yet to fully dislodge the archive as truth or radically change how we write history—might productively inform conceptualizations of law's archive. Given law's significance to historical, contemporary, and future struggles over sovereignty, authority, violence, and nonviolence, its archive, I argue, cannot be broached as a compendium of sources or as a regime of power/knowledge alone. Rather, law is the archive. It is an expansive and expanding locus of juridico-political command, one that is operative through what I term a double logic of violence: a mutual and reciprocal violence of law as symbolic and material force and law as document and documentation. Law's archive is a site from which law derives its meanings, authority, and legitimacy, a proliferation of documents that obscures its originary violence and its ongoing force, and a trace that holds the potential to reveal its foundations as (il)legitimate.

British Colonial Legalities: Two Panels in Search of Papers

British Colonial Legalities: Two Panels in Search of Papers

British Colonial Legalities
CRN 15
Law & Society Association Meeting 2013
Boston 30 May to 2 June

The LSA&#8217;s deadline is upon us and who would want to miss the Boston LSA? We have two rather exciting panel proposals here &#8211; does your work fit? Please email Yael Berda by 20 Nov if it does:"Yael Berda" <>,

Perhaps you too have an idea and are looking for others to form a panel with? Please take advantage of being on the British Colonial Legalities email list!

And please do send this on to others who might find it useful.

Please note that LSA has strict rules on participation this time round and we can only really be on one panel or roundtable.

Best wishes from
Wes, Binyamin and Jothie.

Panel One: Organiser Yael Berda, Princeton.
Colonial legal practicalities - the mundane daily work of colonial rule

Law in the colonies was not only a juridical template constructed in London and proliferated throughout the empire. Rather, it was a patchwork of local and British laws, ad hoc regulations, judicial decisions and administrative decrees that made up the complex daily life of governance in and of the colonies. In this panel we explore legal practices in the colonies: bureaucratic and administrative practice, lawyers&#8217; practices and practices of the subjects that used the law as a form of resistance to colonial rule in order to provide a richer, deeper account of the life of the law in the British colonies.
Panel Two: Organiser: Yael Berda, Princeton.

Law, Geopolitics, Populations

Population movements, partitions, transfers and displacements took place in British colonies during colonial rule and following decolonization. Laws, judicial decisions and legal definitions of citizens and subjects played an important part in the geopolitical re-designing of the British empire and its post colonies This panel focuses on the relationship between law, geopolitics and populations in the colonies and post colonies.

LSA&#8217;s Call for papers at

Dostie and Dupre on 1898 prohibition referendum

New in Explorations in Economic History (Vol. 49 Issue 4) an article, '"The people's will": Canadians and the 1898 referendum on alcohol prohibition' by economists Benoit Dostie and Ruth Dupré.

Here's the abstract, the last line of which made me laugh out loud. Economists, what can you say? But as an empircally based case study on a referendum, this seems as though it could be quite useful to legal historians interested in law reform and/or alcohol regulation or the role of religion in law making.

The 1920s American alcohol prohibition is notorious but not unique. Quite a few countries went through a vigorous struggle. But it is in Canada in 1898 that the very first national referendum on prohibition in the world took place. In this article, we focus on this rare and neglected event in Canadian history, in which the government came close but finally did not impose prohibition. In our empirical analysis, we use census district-level data to investigate how the shares of Yes, No and Abstentions vary according to four sets of factors: religious, demographic, social and economic. Our results confirm the literature on temperance and prohibition with religion [Evangelicals against Catholics and Anglicans] as the key explanatory variable, followed by the heterogeneity of the population, measured by the proportion of foreign-born. Urbanization has also the expected (although small) impact. Results for wealth are mixed. The economic interest rationale is not confirmed but that can be explained by the historical context.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chambers on Married Women and Businesses in Ontario

Lori Chambers has extended her interest in Ontario married women's property law reform to examine its consequences for married businesswomen. Her new article "Married Women and Businesses" appears in the fall 2012 issue of Ontario History (not yet online.) The Ebscohost listing for this article does not include the author's name, but this is Lori. Here's the abstract:

Married women's property law reform in the nineteenth century made it legally possible for wives to run businesses independently of husbands.
However, marital property law reform as interpreted by the courts of Ontario still conceptualized the wife as a dependent partner in marriage who owed labour and services to her husband.
A woman's ability to run a business on her own account was limited by the rules assigned to married women's property ownership, and her labour in a family business was constructed as a labour of love, performed for the benefit of family, and to the profit of her husband.
Women faced significant challenges in obtaining credit and maintaining ownership of enterprises.
By examining Ontario cases in which wives sought to control the assets from their businesses, this paper explores the limitations of reform, and asserts not only that business is not gender neutral, but also that understanding law is essential to understanding why women have been marginalized in the business community and business history

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Life and times of Kwakwaka'wakw activist Jane Constance Cook (1870-1951)

And another, published this summer, a life and times style biography from UBC Press, Standing Up with Ga'axsta'las: Jane Constance Cook and the Politics of Memory, Church, and Custom by anthropologist Leslie Robertson and the Kwagu’l Gixsam Clan.  Order here.

Says UBC press:

Standing Up with Ga'axsta'las is a compelling conversation with the colonial past initiated by the descendants of Kwakwaka'wakw leader and activist, Jane Constance Cook (1870-1951). Working in collaboration, Robertson and Cook's descendants open this history, challenging dominant narratives that misrepresent her motivations for criticizing customary practices and eventually supporting the potlatch ban. Drawing from oral histories, archival materials, and historical and anthropological works, they offer a nuanced portrait of a high-ranked woman who was a cultural mediator; devout Christian; and activist for land claims, fishing and resource rights, and adequate health care. Ga'axsta'las testified at the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission, was the only woman on the executive of the Allied Indian Tribes of BC, and was a fierce advocate for women and children. This powerful meditation on memory documents how the Kwagu'l Gixsam revived their dormant clan to forge a positive social and cultural identity for future generations through feasting and potlatching.

Legal History of Post WWI Halifax by Michael Boudreau

Also new (last spring) from UBC Law and Society series, City of Order: Crime and Society in Halifax, 1918-35 by criminologist/legal historian Michael Boudreau from St. Thomas University, Fredericton. Order on line here.

Here's the blurb:

Interwar Halifax was a city in flux, a place where citizens struggled to adopt new ideas and technologies as they dealt with rising levels of poverty, unemployment, and outmigration. Although many Haligonians debated the pros and cons of the modern world, most agreed on one thing -- modernity was corrupting public morality and unleashing an imposing array of social problems, including crime, on their fair city.
Michael Boudreau pieces together from case files and archival records a riveting portrait of citizens, policy makers, and officials turning to the criminal justice system to create a bulwark against further social dislocation. Officials modernized the city’s machinery of order -- courts, prisons, and the police force -- and placed greater emphasis on crime control, while residents supported tough-on-crime measures and attached little importance to rehabilitation. These initiatives, in this particular cultural context, gave birth to a constructed vision of a criminal class that provided the police with convenient targets in their effort to build a city of order -- ethnic minorities, working-class men, and female and juvenile offenders.
This absorbing study of crime and culture in interwar Halifax shows how tough-on-crime measures can compound, rather than resolve, social inequalities and dislocations.


New book from UBC press on the legal response to Westray by Steven Bittle

New in print from the UBC Press Law and Society Series, Still Dying for a Living, by University of Ottawa criminologist Steven Bittle. Hardcover, $95.00. Order online here.

Here's the publisher's blurb:

In 1992, a preventable explosion at the WestrayMine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, killed twenty-six miners. More than a decade later, the government enacted Bill C-45, commonly known as the Westray bill, to hold organizations criminally liable for seriously injuring and killing workers and the public. Yet, while the federal government declared the Westray bill an important step, the law has thus far failed to produce a crackdown on corporate crime.


In Still Dying for a Living, Steven Bittle turns a critical eye on the Westray bill, revealing how legal, economic, and cultural discourses surrounding the bill downplayed
the seriousness of workplace injury and death, effectively characterizing these crimes as regrettable but largely unavoidable accidents and in the process obscuring their underlying causes