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Monday, March 25, 2013

Osgoode Society seeks applicants for awards and fellowship

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History administers three awards. The deadline for each of these awards for 2013 is April 30. The details follow.

John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History

The Saywell Prize is made possible by the generosity of his family and friends, to recognise the outstanding contribution to Canadian political and legal history of Professor Saywell. Among his other work Professor Saywell is the author of The Law Makers: Judicial Power And The Shaping of Canadian Federalism, published by the Osgoode Society in 2002.

The Saywell Prize is given bi-annually to the best new book in Canadian legal history, broadly defined, that makes an important contribution to an understanding of the constitution and/or federalism. In exceptional circumstances, the jury could also consider a seminal article or series of articles, some of the latter not written in the two-year period, to satisfy the objectives of the award.

The Saywell Prize will next be awarded in 2013, for a book published in 2011 or 2012. The deadline for nominations for 2013 is April 30, 2013. Please email nominations to

R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History

The R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History was created in 2007, on the occasion of the retirement as Chief Justice of Ontario of the Hon. R. Roy McMurtry. It honours the contribution to Canadian legal history of Roy McMurtry, Attorney-General and Chief Justice of Ontario, founder of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and for many years (and currently) the Society's President.

The fellowship of $16,000 is to support graduate (preferably doctoral) students or those with a recently completed doctorate, to conduct research in Canadian legal history, for one year. Scholars working on any topic in the field of Canadian legal history are eligible. Applicants should be in a graduate programme at an Ontario University or, if they have a completed doctorate, be affiliated with an Ontario University.

The fellowship may be held concurrently with other awards for graduate study. Eligibility is not limited to history and law programmes; persons in cognate disciplines such as criminology or political science may apply, provided the subject of the research they will conduct as a McMurtry fellow in Canadian legal history. The selection committee may take financial need into consideration. Applications will be assessed by a committee appointed by the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.

Those interested in the 2013 fellowship should apply by sending a full c.v. and a statement of the research they would conduct as a McMurtry fellow to Marilyn Macfarlane, McMurtry Fellowship Selection Committee, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, M5H 2N6. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2013.

Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History

The Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History was established by the Society in 2006 in honour of Professor Peter Oliver, the Society's founding editor-in-chief. The prize 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.
Students may self-nominate their published work, and faculty members are also encouraged to nominate student work of which they are aware. Those nominating their own work should send a copy of it to the Society.
The deadline for nominations for the 2013 Prize, to be awarded for work published in 2012, is April 30, 2013.
Please send nominations to Professor Jim Phillips, Editor-in-Chief, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto ON M5H 2N6, or by email to

Part-time researcher sought for Osgoode Society Website

The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is about to launch its new website. We are looking to hire a person to work with the website, largely developing new content but also updating book reviews etc. The person chosen will work under the supervision of the editor-in-chief, Jim Phillips, and the website co-ordinator, Mary Stokes. The job does not entail uploading the content, just producing it.

The person selected will be asked to work at least an average of 10 hours a week, starting sometime in April 2013, and be able to continue to do so for at least the remainder of 2013. More hours may be available.  Remuneration will be between $20 and $25 an hour, depending on qualifications.  Applicants should have a good knowledge of Canadian history, and familiarity with doing basic research in secondary and primary resources.

For more information, or to apply (with a c.v.), please contact

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Legal history book reviews in March 2013 issue of CHR

Also in the March 2013 issue of the CHR, two legal history reviews:

Bettina Bradbury, Wife to Widow: Lives, Laws, and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Montreal, reviewed by Lori Chambers


John McLaren, Dewigged, Bothered, and Bewildered: British Colonial Judges on Trial, 1800-1900, reviewed by Patrick J. Connor

Girard on the history of the law of married women's nationality in Canada

Also in the March 2013 issue of CHR, Philip Girard's

The abstract:
Canada's Naturalization Act 1881 followed Britain's lead in requiring a woman's nationality to conform to that of her husband. Analysis of the interwar campaign to change the law sheds light on the link between the status of women and dominion autonomy; the continuing reluctance to admit immigrant women to the full privileges of citizenship; the role of national women's organizations in maintaining Canada's future as a white settler nation; and the emergence of new ways of justifying and maintaining male legal privilege at a time when ideas about gender and marital equality were gaining some traction. By 1946, when Canada's Citizenship Act declared citizenship to be independent of marriage, and Canadian citizenship to be independent of British subject status, the emancipation of married women from their husbands' nationality tracked the disengagement of Canada from the British Empire.

Beaulieu on the history of aboriginal land compensation in Quebec

The March 2013 issue of the Canadian Historical Review is now online.

Here's abstract for the first of two legal history articles, by Alain Beaulieu of UQAM:


At the conquest of New France, the British had already built a long tradition of purchasing Aboriginal land. This policy, made official in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, was implemented in an extensive portion of the Canadian territory, but not in the Saint Lawrence Valley, heart of the former French empire in America, and what is now the province of Quebec. The British, followed by the Canadian government, adopted a policy of unilateral land appropriation in that area, dispossessing the Aboriginals without reliance on a treaty system. This particularity of the Indian land policy in Quebec has given rise to divergent interpretations that rest on the same implicit premise that a structuring legal framework existed, which, when reconstituted, gives meaning to history, either by legitimizing the unilateral dispossession process or by stigmatizing it. This article attempts to locate the process of dispossessing Aboriginal land outside the normative framework imposed by the law. The objective is not to identify a standard to explain why the British did not conclude treaties, but rather to follow a process of legal standardization, in which colonial practice is inscribed, through trial and error, detours, shifts in meaning, and improvisations into a legitimizing framework.DOI: 10.3138/chr.1060