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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Osgoode Society launches four books

The Osgoode Society formally launched its 2103 books yesterday at a reception at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

The first three were published earlier this year; Essays in the History of Canadian Law XI: Quebec and the Canadas edited by Donald Fyson and G. Blaine Baker has just appeared in print. I haven't had a chance to go through it yet, though I did get a chance to read Blaine Baker's survey of the legal historiography of the period/region in draft. It will be enormously useful. And please check out the dust jacket for an amusing period cartoon, courtesy of McGill University history professor emeritus Brian Young.  Perceptions of lawyer greed (and persistence therein) are a historical constant.

Here's the blurb (picture sadly not yet available, I will update when it is):

This latest volume in the Essays in the History of Canadian Law series, with which we launched our publishing programme in 1981, is the first devoted to central Canada - what is now Ontario and Quebec before Confederation. Anchored by a comprehensive introduction exploring the main themes of the legal history of the region, a group of distinguished historians have contributed 11 substantive essays (three in French), on subjects as varied as women in court, grand juries, western law and aboriginal peoples, gun use and control, Quebec legal literature, married women's property, and imprisonment for debt.

The other three books have already been announced here but here they are again. (Note:  join the Osgoode Society and receive this year's membership book and purchase any of this year's additional books here. 

Our Members Book for 2013 is Memoirs and Reflections by the Hon. R. Roy McMurtry, published by the University of Toronto Press.  In addition to his most important accomplishment, the founding of the Osgoode Society, Roy McMurtry recounts and reflects on his years as a criminal defence lawyer, attorney-general of Ontario, High Commissioner to the UK, and Chief Justice of Ontario. Along the way we are given insights into the patriation of the Constitution, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Dubin Inquiry, and many other events. This book is a great read, a modern legal history of Canada and Ontario, and a tale of a life well lived.

Lawyers, Families, and Businesses: The Shaping of a Bay Street Law Firm, Faskens 1863-1963, by C. Ian Kyer, Lawyer and  Historian, published by Irwin Law. Ian Kyer holds a Ph.D. in history and was for many years a partner at Fasken Martineau. He has combined  his historical and legal expertise to produce a comprehensive account of the first century of Faskens. He takes us through crucial stages in the development of not just this but many other Canadian law firms - alliances with business, the growth of two or three man partnerships into considerably larger firms, and the links between leading firms and politics. Along the way we see how law practice changed, how remuneration was divided up, how strong leaders stamped their individual personalities on the collective identity of the firm. This is a major contribution to our understanding of the seismic changes in Canadian law practice.

The Massey Murder: A Maid, her Master, and the Trial that Shocked a Nation, by Charlotte Gray, Independent Historian, published by Harper Collins. In 1915 Carrie Davies, an 18-year old servant girl in the home of Charles (Bert) Massey, scion of the famous Massey family, shot and killed her employer as he entered his house after work. Remarkably, she was acquitted, and award winning popular historian Charlotte Gray explains how this happened. Vividly recreating the war time atmosphere, a press war, and conflicts over crime and gender, she highlights the role played by the defence lawyer who exploited the "unwritten law" of an honour killing in a rare Canadian case of jury nullification.

Campbell on crime and racial geography in Hamilton, Canada West

In the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, December 2013 (published online July 2013), Lyndsay Campbell writes on “The Disorderly Conduct of a Few”: Crime and Hamilton’s Racial Geography in the Early 1850s"

The abstract is not currently available. I will update when it is.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Constance Backhouse recipient of 2013 Governor General's Persons Case Award

Celebrated Canadian legal historian Constance Backhouse is one of five recipients of the Governor General's award in commemoration of the "Persons Case" for 2013.  For our non-Canadian readers, the Persons Case, more formally known as Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General) declared that the term 'person' in the British North America Act (then the Constitution of Canada) included women. Since 1979 the Governor General has made this award yearly to five women who have contributed to the legal and social advancement of Canadian women in honour of the famous five who were the applicants in the case, a constitutional reference to the Supreme Court of Canada (which found against them) and then appellants to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, then the final court of appeal for Canada, where they were successful in October of 1929. For those interested, the case, the famous five, and the enunciation of the principle of the 'living tree' by Lord Sankey, whereby the constitution is to be interpreted as a growing document (the opposite of U.S. 'originalism') are the subject of the book The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 2007), by Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia McMahon.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Canadian Journal of Law and Society: Call for Special Issue Proposals

It would be great to have a legal history issue, if anyone's game to propose it....

Call For Special Issue Proposals
Canadian Journal of Law and Society
Revue Canadienne Droit et Société

In addition to publishing two regular issues a year featuring top socio-legal scholarship from around the world, the Canadian Journal of Law and Society/ Revue Canadienne Droit et Société is interested in publishing one special issue each year.  We are currently seeking proposals for a special issue to be published in 2015.

Proposals should briefly outline the overall focus of the special issue and suggest a preliminary list of authors and articles.  A brief biography of the editor or editors is also required. 

Special issues will be subject to rigorous peer review and, as such, we can not guarantee that every article submitted as part of a special issue will be published.  We will work closely with editors on this decision making process.

Proposals should be submitted to The deadline for proposals is January 1 2014.  All proposals received by that date will be reviewed by the editorial board.  A decision will be made by February 1 2014.

We invite proposals on a wide range of socio-legal topics from scholars around the world.  CJLS/RCDS is a bilingual journal and welcomes proposals and special issues in either French or English.  Special issues can also contain a blend of French and English articles.

Should you have any questions with regards to special issue proposals please do not hesitate to contact a member of our editorial team or visit the journal website at

Mariana Valverde
Violaine Lemay
Melanie Adrian

Appel à contributions pour un numéro thématique
Canadian Journal of Law and Society
Revue Canadienne Droit et Société

En plus des deux publications annuelles contenant des articles de calibre international dans champ de recherche droit et société, la Revue Canadienne Droit et Société/Canadian Journal of Law and Societypublie un numéro spécial par année. Nous acceptons maintenant des propositions pour le numéro thématique de 2015. Les propositions soumises doivent résumer brièvement le thème du numéro thématique et elles doivent proposer une liste préliminaire des auteurs et des articles proposés. Une courte bibliographie du ou des éditeur(s) doit également être fournie.

Les numéros thématiques sont l’objet de révision par les pairs et, de ce fait, il est donc impossible de garantir que chaque article soumis dans le cadre de ce numéro sera publié. Nous travaillerons de façon étroite avec les éditeurs ou directeurs de numéro dans la gestion de ce processus décisionnel. Les propositions doivent être soumises à avant le 1 janvier 2014. Toutes les propositions soumises avant cette date seront évaluées par le comité éditorial. La décision sera prise avant le 1er février 2014.

Nous accueillerons les propositions sur un large éventail de sujets et de provenance internationale dans le champ droit et société. RCDS/CJLS est une revue bilingue; nous accueillons donc les propositions de numéro thématique tant en anglais qu’en français. Les numéros thématiques peuvent également contenir un mélange d’articles en anglais et en français.  Pour toute question concernant les propositions pour numéro thématique, n’hésitez pas à écrire à l’un des membres de l’équipe éditoriale ou visitez notre site web au

Mariana Valverde
Violaine Lemay
Melanie Adrian

Canadian Journal of Law and Society/Revue Canadienne Droit et Société
Rm D482, Loeb Bldg.
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa ON  K1S 5B6

Call for papers on human rights

(I assume this includes the history of human rights law.)

Call for Papers
Deadline for Submissions: Dec 30th, 2013
The Canadian Journal of Human Rights (CJHR), the only academic journal of its kind in Canada, is now accepting submissions for its next volume.
The CJHR is published by the Robson Hall Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba; however, it is not a typical law journal. The journal is both a national and international forum for scholars to share and debate ideas in human rights and humanitarian law and policy. It is the only journal in Canada that deals exclusively with human rights scholarship.
As developments in the area of human rights are not limited to legal events and analyses, the CJHR has an interdisciplinary focus and will publish quality papers that deal with human rights issues in a broader socio-legal arena. There is no requirement that submissions have a strict legal focus.
The CJHR welcomes submissions from scholars from diverse backgrounds of academic engagement. Manuscripts may be submitted in English or French.
Please see our web site at for specific manuscript requirements and further information. Kindly send submissions via e-mail as attachments in Word to:
Dr. Donn Short, Editor-in-Chief Canadian Journal of Human
Authors should include full contact information (name, institution, mailing address, telephone) in the body of the e-mail.