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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blaine Baker corrects the record/Toronto Legal History Group

At a Toronto Legal History Group meeting this evening* (an excellent, well-attended presentation by Philip Girard on the legal history of women's citizenship in interwar Canada), Blaine Baker pointed out to me some errors in my earlier post on the project to establish a scholarship in his name at McGill. My post refers to Blaine as being retired, which is true only in a very technical sense. He is an emeritus professor at the McGill Faculty of Law, and teaches there three days a week. In addition, he did not teach at Osgoode and U of T prior to his appointment at McGill--rather, he was a visiting professor at those schools during his tenure at McGill, which was his first and only appointment. Hey, these things are important!

Actually, Blaine was very nice about it, which is always his way, and one of the reasons his former students want to fund the scholarship in the first place.  But I guess his reputation as an internetphobe is greatly exaggerated (although he did wait for the chance to see me, rather than setting me to rights by email, so some parts of the Baker legend are still true.) Once again, for more information or to pledge, email

*For info on the Toronto Legal History Group, which meets at 6:30 pm in Flavelle House in the U of T Faculty of Law on alternate Wednesdays (usually), to receive the schedule of presentations or to be put on the mailing list to receive the draft papers--which are not for quotation or citation unless otherwise stated--please email Jim Phillips ( The group includes faculty from universities in the GTA and beyond, graduate and undergraduate students, lawyers and anyone with an interest in legal history (often, but not always Canadian) as an academic subdiscipline of law and history. Every session has a different mix of attendees, depending on the subject and speaker, so feel free to email Jim and drop in as your interests and schedule allow.

Deadline to register for conference on patriation of the constitition looms

Eric Adams of the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta has asked me to notify/remind readers about the Centre for Constitutional Studies' upcoming Patriation Negotiations Conference.

Eric writes:

The conference will include extensive historical reflections on a key moment in Canadian constitutional history.

The date to take advantage of the early registration fee is about to pass. Students interested in attending should contact Patricia Paradis, Executive Director of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at asap regarding a special student conference rate.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Student Research Assistants sought for History of Ontario Court of Appeal Project

The Osgoode Society has a grant to produce a history of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Historian Christopher Moore has been engaged to do the research and writing. He will need some research assistants to do some basic digging in case reports. The project would like to hire RAs from all Ontario law schools.

Here's the call for applications:

Ontario Court of Appeal History
Research Assistantships in Ontario Legal History
October 2011-March 2012

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is supporting a research and publication program on the history of the Ontario Court of Appeal.  Up to twenty Ontario law students may be hired to contribute to the research effort in 2011-12

Work Assignment:  To research published Law Reports on cases heard in the Ontario Court of Appeal, 1870s to date.  Using a reporting form (provided) to assemble quantitative legal/historical data on the cases.  To write Case Briefs summarizing issues in each case.  To assess the historical interest/significance of the cases.  Other legal-historical research as needed. Student contributions will be credited in publications that result.

Supervision:    General direction will be by historian Christopher Moore of Toronto, principally through email and/or a web-based network.  Completed reporting forms and statements of hours worked will be expected regularly by email.

Hours of Work and Pay: About 120 hours (6 hours weekly) in the October 2011-March 2012 academic term, at $20.00/hour including benefits.

Eligibility: Students should be enrolled in an Ontario Faculty of Law for the 2011-12 year.  If there are more applications than places, preference will be given to students who have some experience with Canadian history. However, this is not a pre-requisite.

Application Deadline: Priority will be given to applications received by Friday, October 7, 2011.

To Apply: Email a short statement of interest with an attached brief CV to Christopher Moore <

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Proposal for scholarship honouring Blaine Baker

McGill emeritus professor  G. Blaine Baker

Many (most? all?) readers of this blog will have received a letter from Jim Phillips advising them of a proposal to honour renowned Canadian legal historian Blaine Baker, who is admired by everyone who knows him and/or his work. Blaine retired recently from the faculty of the McGill Law School, where he taught administrative law, contracts and legal history and also served as associate dean. Prior to coming to McGill he taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and U of T. Some of his former students have begun to organize fundraising for an entrance scholarship to the law school to recognize his exemplary teaching and scholarship. For more details or to contribute please contact Ian Pilarczyk of Boston University Law at .

Friday, September 9, 2011

Millman online review of Sharpe on Currie Trial

Military historian Brock Millman of UWO has published on H-Law, (for which it was commissioned) a review of Justice Robert Sharpe's The Last Day, the Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial, recently republished by the Osgoode Society. Here's the link to the review: a positive one, not surprisingly. As Millman points out, Sharpe's book deserves to be better known among military history scholars and Canadianists generally. So spread the word.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Philip Girard to be honoured at ASLH conference in Atlanta--be there!

Philip Girard of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, and the Lewtas visiting scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School for the 2011-12 academic year, is well-known to all of us as one of our finest legal historians, a terrific teacher and colleague, the quintessential scholar and gentleman. (And if he's not known to all readers of this blog he should be--time to get cracking!)

Appropriately enough given Philip's interest in comparative legal history he is about to be celebrated outside our borders, when he is to be made an Honorary Fellow of the American Society for Legal History at this year's annual conference in Atanta, Georgia, November 10-12--the first Canadian ever to be so honoured.
Constance Backhouse, current president of the ASLH (and also a pre-eminent Canadian legal historian for the hypothetical few who do not know), would very much like Philip's many friends and fans to think seriously about coming to the conference to join in the tribute.

The first panel of the programme, (which will be announced this week via the society's website) will be held on November 10th from 2-3:45 and will focus on Philip's accomplishments. Constance will chair the panel and introduce Philip and his work. She will be followed by three panellists, Jim Phillips, Jean-Philippe Garneau and I, each of whom will focus on one or more aspects of Philip's extremely wide-ranging historiographic  interests and influence, with time allocated for questions and discussion and for Philip to respond if he wishes.

The formal announcement of the honourary fellowship will be made at the Annual Luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 12. So those who are able to attend should try to stay for the entire conference.

This promises to be a terrific opportunity for the Canadian legal history community to get together to honour and support one of our brightest stars and have a wonderful time in the process.

Constance, Jim, Jean-Philippe and I (and I'm sure Philip as well!) would be thrilled to see you there.