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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Osgoode Society thanks its patrons

The Osgoode Society held its annual patrons' dinner yesterday in the Benchers' dining room at Osgoode Hall, under the auspices of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  
Our principal patron is the Law Foundation of Ontario, which provides crucial support for our work. We are also fortunate to have the patronage of a number of law firms. We are very grateful to all our patrons. We also thank the Law Society for its hospitality and sponsorship since the commencement of the society in 1979. 
If your firm is interested in becoming a patron, please contact the Society or the director in charge of our patrons programme, David Chernos, at

In alphabetic order, our thanks to:

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Case Papers Symposium

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Case Papers Symposium

(h/t David Sugarman)

Friday 13 May

The IALS holds an important collection of documents from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) and has been working on a project to improve the discoverability, visibility and utility of the documents. 

This symposium brings together a group of distinguished experts to disseminate and discuss their work on JCPC cases, which include: personalities  in the JCPC; experimentation in the Privy Council; the JCPC as the final court of ecclesiastical appeal; Palestine and the JCPC; the impact of the JCPC on constitutional developments and common law around the world; and new open access JCPC research resources.
The symposium is organised collaboratively by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the Forum for Legal and Historical Research at the University of Reading and the London Legal History Seminar and is aimed at academic researchers and practitioners in law, history and Commonwealth development.

For more information:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Peter Oliver prize for published student work in Canadian Legal History, deadline Apr. 30

Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History invites nominations for the Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History. The prize, named for Professor Peter Oliver, the Society’s founding editor-in-chief,  is awarded annually for published work (journal article, book chapter, book) in Canadian legal history written by a student. Students in any discipline at any stage of their careers are eligible. The Society takes a broad view of legal history, one that includes work in socio-legal history, legal culture, etc., as well as work on the history of legal institutions, legal personnel, and substantive law.

Faculty members are encouraged to nominate student work of which they are aware, and the Society will also be pleased to accept self-nominations.  The deadline for nominations for the 2016 Prize, to be awarded for work published in 2015, is April 30, 2016.

Please send nominations and an electronic version of the nominated work to Professor Philip Girard, Associate Editor, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by email to

Friday, April 1, 2016

Time to register for Symposium in honour of Doug Hay

In case anyone missed this notice, the registration for the symposium Law/Authority/History: honouring the voice of Douglas Hay, to be held at York University May 5-6, 2016, is now open.

Registration is free, but you should RSVP at

For those few who don't know Doug and his work, here's the explanation for the symposium:

From his path-breaking essay on capital punishment in Albion’s Fatal Tree to his more recent work on low law and the regulation of labour, Douglas Hay’s writing has inspired historians and legal scholars around the world for over forty years. While his primary focus has been on eighteenth-century English law and society, Doug has also contributed to Canadian legal history through his work on the reception and administration of the criminal law in Quebec following the transition to British rule. This symposium, co-organized by Doug’s colleagues in York History, Osgoode Hall Law School, and others across Canada, is an occasion for his Canadian friends and colleagues to honour his recent retirement and to celebrate his enormous contributions to scholarship.
The Symposium is open to anybody interested in legal history (all jurisdictions), law and society, and related fields.

Cross-Country Book Launch for Wes Pue, Lawyers' Empire: Legal Professionals and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending an unusual cross-country book launch. Everyone in the legal history business in Canada seems to know, like and admire Wes Pue, currently of the Allard School of Law at UBC, as do many around the world. His scholarship over the last three decades, in particular his work on the history of the legal professions, has been a key contribution to the field. Wes has also made his mark by his promotion of sociolegal research in Canada, particularly by helping create the very successful UBC Press Law and Society Series.

As part of this series, UBC Press has just published a collection of Wes's articles on the subject of the legal profession, Lawyers' Empire: Legal Professionals and Cultural Authority, 1780-1950.  

His many friends and fans took the opportunity presented by the publication to celebrate Wes, his collegiality, mentorship, and many accomplishments by organizing a book launch, based in Vancouver but with attendance and speakers from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary by videos and live videolinks as well as participation by emails from Australia, the UK and the US.

Lawyers' Empire is a wonderful collection, providing convenient access to Wes's work on the profession for scholars. It will also provide a terrific resource for students. The history of the profession is a non-intimidating entry point for legal history neophytes, and the decision to publish these articles in one, accessible place was an excellent one.

Also inspired was the idea (credit to Doug Harris and a team of luminaries too long to list here) to use the occasion of the book's publication to pay tribute to the author. Bravo to all, and thanks to Wes himself for being the reason.

Here's the blurb for the book:

Approaching the legal profession through the lens of cultural history, Wes Pue explores the social roles that lawyers imagined for themselves in England and its empire from the late-eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Each chapter focuses on a moment when lawyers sought to reshape their profession while at the same time imagining they were shaping nation and empire in the process. As an exploration of the relationship between legal professionals and liberalism, this book draws attention to recurrent tensions in between how lawyers have best assured their own economic well-being while simultaneously advancing the causes of liberty, cultural authority, stability, and continuity.