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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Invitation to join Collaborative Research Network for Law & History (US and non-US)

Via H-Net, the following (terrific) announcement and invitation:

Greetings from the Law & History Collaborative Research Network, part of the Law & Society Association (

We have just come from the Law and Society Association annual meeting in Minneapolis, where we were thrilled with the success of our first year as a Collaborative Research Network.  Creating a CRN, we think, significantly improved the discussion of legal history at LSA.  We were able to better coordinate and publicize legal history panels and create new opportunities to interact scholars from other fields.  But we hope that this is just the beginning.  With more participation, we believe next year will be even better, and we invite you to join us.

What is the Law & History CRN?
The Law & History CRN brings together scholars interested in legal history, both American and non-American, of any time period from contemporary to ancient.  We welcome a broad array of scholarly interests and methodological approaches. The Law and Society Movement has long welcomed legal historians and encouraged legal history, and our CRN intends to further foster this relationship. We seek to encourage presentation of historical legal work at the Law and Society’s Association’s annual meeting, and to create opportunities for interdisciplinary and cross-generational conversations.

What does it mean to join the Law & History CRN?
It means you will be welcomed into a network of scholars interested in participating in the historical examination of the law at the Law and Society Association annual meeting and beyond.  In practical terms, joining the CRN means joining a listserv (administered via Google Groups) that we use to alert members of the LSA’s call for papers, organize panels, and communicate about panels of interest for scholars interested in law and history at LSA.  We will also on rare occasions send out other announcements relevant to legal history.

The next Law & Society Association meeting will be held May 28-31 in Seattle, Washington. The call for papers should be out soon, and the deadline for submitting papers and panels will be in the fall of 2014, so it's not to early to start thinking about proposals.

What are the advantages of joining the Law & History CRN?
We see our main contribution as encouraging connections among a broad range of scholars and drawing attention to the historical legal research presented at the annual conference. More specifically, we’re interested in putting together and publicizing legal history panels at the LSA annual meeting. If you have a paper you’d like to present, you can use the listserv to find other potential panelists; we can also use our access to the LSA website to help connect you with other relevant paper submissions. And if you’re planning a panel that seems relevant to legal historians, please let us know so that we can list it as a CRN panel (if you’re interested) and publicize it among our members.  Further, we can make connections with other CRNs, further increasing the potential audience for each panel. This year (our first year as a CRN) we had five panels designated as CRN panels, two of which were co-listed with other CRNs. Finally, the administrative advantage of affiliating your paper/panel with a CRN is that the CRN can request that up to four of CRN-affiliated panels be scheduled at different times to avoid conflicts.

Do I need to be a member of LSA to join the Law & History CRN?
No. We strongly encourage everyone who is presenting at LSA to also become a member, but all we’re asking you to do right now is sign up for the email announcements.

I’m not a legal historian/I’m not a historian – can I join?
Absolutely. LSA is about drawing connections across fields and methods. If you’re interested in legal history, or you’re using historical materials, or you’re looking to the past, and you’d like to present on a panel with other people interested in historical sources/methods/questions, we’d love to have you.

I’m already a member of the American Society for Legal History – why should I also attend LSA?
We are all enthusiastic ASLH participants, but the LSA annual meeting differs in a few important ways. First, it’s a large interdisciplinary meeting with substantial representation from sociology, political science, anthropology, economics, and other fields. It can thus be a great place to make connections, put together panels across disciplinary lines, and participate in interdisciplinary conversations. Second, since LSA traditionally accepts all paper and panel submissions, it provides a welcoming place for all scholars, especially graduate students who may find it difficult to get on the program at smaller conferences.  And third, we want to exchange ideas with scholars interested in legal history more than once a year.

How do I join?
Send an email with your contact information to any or all of us and we will make sure you are included.


Joanna Grisinger, Center for Legal Studies, Northwestern University

Kimberly Welch, Department of History, University of West Virginia

Logan Sawyer, University of Georgia Law School

Kathryn Schumaker, Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, University of Oklahoma

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Prize winners announced at Osgoode Society AGM

The annual general meeting of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History was held this evening at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. Thanks to the Law Society of Upper Canada for hosting the meeting and reception.

The president of the society, Roy McMurtry, chaired the meeting, the treasurer, C. Ian Kyer, reported on the society's finances, and the editor-in-chief, Jim Phillips reported on the publications for the year and the oral history project. The meeting was addressed by historian Chris Moore, whose history of the court of appeal for Ontario is the Society's members' book for 2014.

Two prizes were awarded (the Society's third prize, the John Saywell prize is awarded in alternate years.)

Congratulations to Peter Price, a doctoral student in history at Queen's University, who was awarded the prestigious R.Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Canadian Legal History for 2014-2015. The fellowship will support his research into the public careers of two late nineteenth/early twentieth century Toronto lawyers. Here's an excerpt from the winning proposal:
Lawyers and the Pursuit of “A More Healthy Public Feeling:” The Legal Careers of Edward Meek and Edward Douglas Armour

At the turn of the twentieth century, as immigration to Canada rapidly expanded and as the franchise grew to include more voting citizens, numerous legal professionals became preoccupied with the protection of what they saw as the “public good.” In many ways, the didactic mission of certain lawyers to safeguard particular visions of democracy became a defining element of legal culture in Canada at that time. Why did lawyers become prominent participants in efforts to improve civic and legal literacy? How did they define the idea of “public good”? How did they envision the role of law in supporting or defining ideas of public good?

To help answer these questions, this study will examine the careers of two prominent
Toronto-based lawyers, Edward Meek (1845-1925) and Edward Douglas Armour (1851-
1922), both of whom were prominent within the legal profession and in the wider public. In reaction to the increasing professionalization and specialization of law, they shared the belief that lawyers had a duty to reach out to public audiences. Their extensive public writings were motivated to a large degree by their belief that democracy and the rule of law depended on a citizenry informed on matters of law and constitutionalism. Using these two lawyers as case studies, this project will examine the relationship between legal professionals and the promotion of particular understandings of democracy and “public good.”

The Peter Oliver Prize for published work in Canadian legal history by a student was awarded to Mary Stokes for her chapter, "Grand Juries and 'Proper Authorities:' Low Law, Soft Law and Local Governance in Canada West/Ontario, 1850-1880, which appeared in  Essays in the History of Canadian Law volume 11, Quebec and the Canadas, edited by Donald Fyson and G.Blaine Baker.

Call for papers: Traditions, Borrowings, Innovations, & Impositions: Law in the Post-Colony and in Empire

From Shaunnagh Dorsett:

Call For Papers

“Traditions, Borrowings, Innovations, & Impositions: Law in the Post-Colony and in Empire.”

Following the 2012 Legal Histories of the British Empire Conference held in Singapore, please hold the date for the follow on comparative legal history up to be held at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Accra, 2-4 July 2014.

Patterns of disruption and also networks of innovation, resistance, tradition, and imposition connect places touched by European Empires, including the British Empire from origins to the present. All aspects of law in history, law in society, and law in culture carry traces of this in local expression, as in comparative contexts.
The conference provides an opportunity for the sharing of research and ideas from all perspectives, regions, and periods including:

·       research on the constitutional, legal and institutional frameworks of the post-colony and colony;
·       the roles of law in social development, cultural transformation, and economic development;
·       legal pluralism;
·       post-colonial scholarship;
·       the internal cultures of law, of the judiciary,
·       the legal profession, and legal education;
·       the role of law in oppression or resistance, as
·       tool and as discourse;
·       autonomy, migrations, religions, and
·       indigeneity;
·       globalization and transnationalism;
·       comparative research.

A website will be available shortly, with full conference information. In the meantime, a pdf with additional information can be obtained from or

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Launch of edited collection on Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada announced

Chief JusticesNew Federation is launching its edited collection, "The Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada" at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on October 14, 2014 (co-hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada and Osgoode Hall Law School with R. Roy McMurtry as guest of honour.)

New Federation is a non-profit charitable organization, and they are seeking help with the publishing costs from the profession. For more information, contact Gerry Gummersell, 

The table of contents shows a diverse and interesting list of contributors, including a number of legal historians.
 (Apologies for the weird formatting. Cut and pasted from a Word document.)

Chief Justices                                       Authors

Sir William Buell Richards                  Lawrence Martin-The Globe and Mail
Sir William Johnstone Ritchie            E. Bruce Mellett
[1879-92]                                              Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Sir Samuel Henry Strong                    Prof. Jamie Benidickson-Biographer
[1892-1902]                                          Faculty of Law-University of Ottawa
Sir Henri-Elzear Taschereau              Prof. & Dean Guy Lefevre
[1902-06]                                             Faculty of Law-Universite de Montreal

Sir Charles Fitzpatrick                         Prof. Adam Dodek
[1906-18]                                              Vice Dean Common Law Section
                                                                Faculty of Law- University of Ottawa

Sir Louis Henry Davies                        Mr. Justice James C. MacPherson   
[1918-24]                                              Ontario Court of Appeal
Francis Alexander Anglin                    John J. L. Hunter Q. C.
[1924-33]                                               Hunter Litigation Chambers-Vancouver
Sir Lyman Poore Duff                          Prof. Lorne Sossin
[1933-44]                                               Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School
Thibaudeau Rinfret                             Prof. Sylvio Normand
[1944-54]                                              Faculty of Law
                                                               Universite Laval

Patrick Kerwin                                      Prof. Carissima Mathen
[1954-63]                                              Faculty of Law-Common Law Section
                                                                University of Ottawa
Robert Taschereau [1963-67]            Prof. Michel Morin             
[1963-67]                                               Faculty of Law
                                                                 Universite de Montreal

John Robert Cartwright                        Prof. Emeritus Peter H. Russell
[1967-70]                                              Dept. of Pol. Sci. U of T
Joseph Honore Gerald Fauteux           Prof. Sebastien Grammond
[1970-73]                                             Dean, Civil Law, University of Ottawa 
Bora Laskin                                               Prof. Philip Girard
[1973-84]                                                  Osgoode Hall Law School
Brian Dickson                                           Mr.  Justice Robert Sharpe
[1984-90]                                                  Ontario Court of Appeal
Antonio Lamer                                         Prof. Susan Herada
[1990-2000]                                             Carleton University                                                                                                                                       
Beverley McLachlin                                 Eugene Meehan Q.C.
 [2000- ]                                                     Supreme Advocacy LLP                                   

Sarah Hamill first PHD from U of A Faculty of Law

I re-tweeted this announcement, but it deserves a proper post.

Sarah Hamill, the first doctoral student at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, has now become U of A Law's first PHD. Sarah is a legal historian and property law scholar. I hope her dissertation, From Prohibition to Administrative Regulation: The Battle for Liquor Control in Alberta, 1916 to 1939, under the supervision of Eric Adams, will soon be available on ProQuest Theses & Dissertations.

Here's her page, which reflects her varied interests.  I look forward to reading one of her next projects (not yet available on the site) a study of King v. Barclay and Barclay's Hotel, an early 1960s Alberta case arising out of a 'discrimination trap' strategy which Sarah presented on at the CLSA/ACDS 2014 annual meeting in Winnipeg.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

O'Byrne on the Métis Association of Alberta and the 1938 Metis Population Betterment Act

Speaking of Nicole O 'Byrne, listening to her speak about a little known episode in Métis History--a land settlement in 1930s Alberta--was a highlight of the Winnipeg 2014 CLSA/ACDS annual meeting for me.

Her article on the subject, “No other weapon except organization”: The Métis Association of Alberta and the 1938 Metis Population Betterment Act" appears in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association.

Here's the abstract:

In the 1930s, the Métis Association of Alberta (MAA) successfully lobbied the provincial government to establish a royal commission to inquire into the socio-economic conditions affecting the Métis living in Alberta. The MAA strongly advocated that land be set aside so that the Métis could continue to pursue their traditional economic livelihoods of hunting, trapping, and fishing. Following the recommendation of the Ewing Commission, the provincial government passed the 1938 Metis Population Betterment Act, which provided for Métis land settlements. These lands represent the first time in Canadian history that a provincial government set aside land in response to Métis claims. The MAA and provincial government both agreed on the land grant, but for different reasons. The Métis were motivated by historical claims to redress failed government policies such as the Métis scrip program and to protect land rights from the further incursion of non-Aboriginal settlement. By contrast, the provincial government saw the land grant as an expedient and inexpensive way to distribute relief to one of the province’s poorest populations. This paper illuminates the Alberta government’s response to the political lobbying efforts of the MAA in the 1930s to address the question of why Alberta was the first (and only) Canadian province to set aside Métis land settlements.
Dans les années 1930, l’Association des métis de l’Alberta (AMA) a réussi à convaincre le gouvernement provincial de former une commission royale d’enquête sur les conditions socioéconomiques affectant les Métis de la province. L’AMA a demandé que des terres soient mises de côté pour que les Métis puissent continuer à assurer leur subsistance par des moyens traditionnels comme la chasse, la trappe et la pêche. Suivant les recommandations de la commission Ewing, le gouvernement provincial a adopté la Metis Population Betterment Act de 1938, qui accordait des terres pour l’établissement des Métis. Pour la première fois dans l’histoire du Canada, un gouvernement provincial concédait des terres en réponse à des demandes métisses. L’AMA et le gouvernement provincial ont tous deux convenu de l’octroi de terres, mais pour des raisons différentes. Les Métis souhaitaient obtenir réparation pour les politiques du gouvernement qui se sont soldées par des échecs, comme le programme des certificats de concession de terre (scrips), et protéger leurs droits territoriaux contre l’incursion d’autres peuplements non autochtones. En revanche, le gouvernement provincial estimait que l’octroi de ces terres constituait un moyen opportun et peu coûteux de distribuer une aide à l’une des populations les plus pauvres de la province. Le présent article se penche sur la réaction du gouvernement albertain à la campagne de lobbying menée par l’AMA dans les années 1930 et examine pourquoi l’Alberta a été la première (et la seule) province canadienne à mettre de côté des terres pour les Métis.

TOC for Riel's Defence

Nicole O'Byrne of the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law has drawn my attention to the Table of Contents for Riel's Defence, ed. by Hans V. Hansen, about which I posted the other day.

Nicole kindly sent me pics of the TOC taken from her phone, but I thought a cut and paste would be more readable on the blog.

As you can see, it adds considerably to the description offered by the publisher. Of special interest to legal historians are Desmond Morton's essay on the historical context of the trial and Nicole O'Byrne's own contribution on Riel's constitutional thought.

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 3
Hans V. Hansen
Preface to the Texts of Louis Riel’s Addresses to the Jury and the Court 19
Hans V. Hansen
Louis Riel’s Address to the Jury, 31 July 1885 25
Prepared by Hans V. Hansen
Louis Riel’s Address to the Court, 1 August 1885 45
Prepared by Hans V. Hansen

1 The Queen vs Louis Riel: The Historical Context 72
Desmond Morton
2 “Through the Grace of God I Am the Founder of Manitoba”: Louis Riel’s Constitutional Thought 90
Nicole c. O’Byrne
3 Louis Riel’s Trial Speeches 106
Thomas Flanagan
4 The Use and Force of Rhetorical Strategies in Louis Riel’s First Speech 122
Christopher Tindale
5 Narrative and Logical Orders in Louis Riel’s Address to the Jury 135
Hans V. Hansen
6 “A New German-Indian World” in the North-West: A Métis Deconstruction of the Rhetoric of Immigration in Louis Riel’s Trial Speeches 166
Kerry Sloan
7 Reconstructing the Substantive Argument in Louis Riel’s Address to the Jury 204
Paul Groarke
8 “An Insane and Irresponsible Government”: Louis Riel and the Representation of Responsibility 224
Benjamin Authers
9 “Who Starts the Nations?” Louis Riel and the Question of Geopolitical Legitimacy 247
Jennifer Reid
10 Louis Riel’s Ethos and the Différend 264
Maurice Charland
11 The Case of Two Trials, Louis Riel and Socrates: Intersections, Overlaps, Divergences 280
Louis Groarke

Contributors 317
Index 321

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Morin on Aboriginal Property and Hunting Territories in New France on SSRN

Michel Morin of the Université de Montréal has posted a two part paper, "Propriétés Et Territoires Autochtones En Nouvelle-FranceI – Contrôle Territorial Et Reconnaissance De Territoires Nationaux/ II – La Gestion Des Districts De Chasse" on SSRN. The first part of the article has been published, the second is forthcoming in Recherches amérindiennes au Québec.

Here's the abstract in French, followed by English:

Cet article est publié en deux parties. La première, parue dans notre dernier numéro (vol. 43 nos 2-3), portait sur les débats concernant l’origine du contrôle territorial et sur la reconnaissance des territoires nationaux. La seconde partie de l’article, qui apparaît dans le présent numéro, traite de la gestion des districts de chasse.
Dans le nord-est de l’Amérique du Nord, l’origine précolombienne des territoires familiaux autochtones a suscité une controverse chez les anthropologues, tout comme la possibilité que les Algonquiens aient élaboré par eux-mêmes des mesures de conservation des ressources fauniques. Pourtant, au début du XVIIe siècle, les Français n’ont aucune difficulté à reconnaître l’existence de territoires dont l’accès est contrôlé par des nations autochtones et qui constituent la propriété collective de l’une d’entre elles; par conséquent, ses chefs en supervisent l’usage par ses membres. Avec le temps, les représentants du roi s’emploient à convaincre les peuples « frères » de s’accorder un droit mutuel de chasser sur leurs terres. Comme en Acadie, il existe en Nouvelle-France des « districts » de chasse bien délimités exploités sous la direction d’un chef de bande familiale. Les membres d’une autre bande ou les étrangers doivent obtenir la permission d’y chasser, quoique les incursions occasionnelles soient acceptées. À compter de 1660, des mesures de conservation sont observées dans la région des Grands Lacs et même dans celle du lac Champlain, mais au XVIIIe siècle, elles ne semblent pas connues sur la Côte-Nord; cependant il paraît peu probable que les autochtones n’aient pas eu les connaissances suffisantes pour en élaborer eux-mêmes. Dans l’ensemble, leur conception du territoire semble d’origine autochtone plutôt que française. Elle repose sur l’existence de limites nationales et de districts bien définis, même si les observateurs français ne cherchent pas à décrire ceux-ci précisément.

Aboriginal territories and property in New France:
This paper is being published in two parts. The first, which appeared in our last issue (vol. 43, nos 2-3), focused on the debates concerning the origins of territorial control and the recognition of national territories. The second part, which appears in this issue, deals with the management of hunting districts.
In northeastern America, the pre-Columbian origins of aboriginal family territories has created controversy in the past among anthropologists, just as the possibility that Algonquian peoples devised wildlife conservation measures by themselves. At the beginning of the 17th century, however, the French had no difficulty recognizing the territories of Indigenous Nations who controlled access to the area and exercised a form of collective ownership over it. Their chiefs also supervised the use of these lands. With time, the King’s representatives tried to convince the aboriginal inhabitants, who they called “brothers”, to grant each other the mutual right to hunt on each other’s lands. As was the case in Acadia, there existed in New France well-defined hunting “districts” that were exploited under the guidance of the head of a family band. Members from another band or outsiders had to obtain permission to hunt there, although occasional incursions without permission were tolerated. From 1660 on, conservation measures can be seen in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain regions. In the 18th century, these conservation practices are not documented for the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River, but it seems unlikely that Indigenous people did not have wherewithal to devise such measures on their own. Overall, this conception of territory and ownership seems to have an Indigenous rather than a French origin. It is based on the existence of national boundaries and well-defined districts, even though French observers did not attempt to describe these with precision.

New release from MQUP: Riel's Defence

Just back from a (great) Canadian Law and Society Association conference in Winnipeg, which highlighted Metis and First Nations issues, I thought it wonderfully serendipitous to see this announcement in my mailbox.

Hans V. Hansen has edited two of Louis Riel's speeches: his address to the jury in his trial for treason and to the court following the guilty verdict.

Here's what McGill-Queen's University Press has to say about Riel's Defence: Perspectives on His Speeches

In 1885, Louis Riel was charged with high treason, found guilty, and consequently executed for his role in Saskatchewan's North-West Rebellion. During his trial, the Métis leader gave two speeches, passionately defending the interests of the Métis in western Canada as well as his own life. Riel's Defence studies these speeches, demonstrating the range of Riel's political and personal concerns.

The first and better known of the two speeches addresses the jury, while Riel's second speech - rarely reprinted - addresses the court following his guilty verdict. Both orations have been edited, annotated, and reprinted, and are followed by essays from diverse perspectives including philosophy, law, history, political science, religion, and communication studies. Through the course of their inquiry, contributors come to understand more about Riel's personal character and political thought, as well as his arguments supporting Métis land claims, grievances against the federal government, and his immigration plan for the North-West.

Evaluating the rhetorical quality, legal merit, and cultural stakes of his speeches, Riel's Defence reveals the significance of the last public statements made by a man who indelibly shaped Canada’s history by combining his personal vision with a national vision.
Hansen is a philosopher, and his primary interest is in argument rather than legal history per se, but the book is billed as a multi-disciplinary study, and should be of interest to legal historians as well as anyone concerned with the history of the Canadian West and its indigenous peoples.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kenny, Parenteau on Maliseet defense of Aboriginal Fishing Rights on St. John River, 1945-1990

In the June 2014 issue of the Canadian Historical Review, James Kenny and Bill Parenteau,

“Each year the Indians flexed their muscles a little more”: The Maliseet Defence of Aboriginal Fishing Rights on the St. John River, 1945–1990". 

Here's the abstract in English:

As in the rest of Canada in the postwar period, Aboriginal resistance to state fishing regulations in New Brunswick intensified. This article explores the conflict between Maliseet, commercial and sports fishers, and the state on the Kingsclear Reserve on the St. John River between 1945 and 1990. While the province's Aboriginal population had long asserted their fishing rights on the basis of eighteenth-century treaties, the modern struggle reflected the new challenges of the modernization era when water pollution, over-fishing by an industrial offshore fishery, and construction of hydroelectric dams reduced the river's Atlantic salmon population. Encouraged by an influential angling lobby, state authorities attempted to restrict Aboriginal fishing, especially at Kingsclear, located at the foot of the Mactaquac dam. As they had in the past, the Maliseet resisted enforcement of fisheries regulations, but a new generation of leaders, working closely with other Canadian Aboriginal organizations, also challenged the state in the courts and media. Faced with growing opposition both locally and nationally, and a judiciary increasingly sensitive to Aboriginal issues, federal enforcement declined, setting the stage for a negotiated settlement with the province. This study also shows that Maritime First Nations were active participants in the national wave of Aboriginal resistance and militancy during the 1970s and 1980s.