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Monday, November 24, 2014

Chris Moore interview on UTP Author Blog about writing "The Court of Appeal for Ontario"

Chris Moore, author of The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal 1792-2013, recently published by U of T Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, is the subject of a post on the U of T Publishing Blog "Behind the Book with Christopher Moore" by Elizabeth Glenn.

Chris talks about the writing and research process, the role of former Chief Justice Warren Winkler in initiating the project, assistance from the Law Foundation and the hurdles involved in an admistrative history with inconsistent sources. The post can be accessed here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Praise for Philip Girard from Constance Backhouse

Constance Backhouse wrote me this morning asking me to circulate this. I am thrilled that although I had to miss Philip giving his speech in Denver, the legal history group has the written version, and Philip will be presenting it to us on Wednesday.

From Constance:

Hi Mary,
I am at the American Society for Legal History’s annual meeting in Denver.  I wanted to share with you, and with the Canadian legal history folks, the news about the wonderful “Plenary” speech last night.  The top spot on the program is reserved every year for one of the giants of legal history.  All of the conference goers, even the ones who typically do not attend the sessions, show up and listen intently.  It is considered the marking of a rite of passage.

Last night, Philip Girard was the honoured speaker.  His lecture was titled “Disorienting: Towards a Legal History of North America.”  

Doug Hay and Rosalie Abella have given wonderful speeches at ASLH plenaries some years back when the ASLH met in Canada.  This was the first time that a Canadian had ever been selected to speak at a meeting in the US, and the new ASLH President, Michael Grossberg, made a point of stressing that “you don’t need to be in Canada to learn about Canadian legal history.”

Philip was simply outstanding.  All of us have heard him give awesome presentations in the past, but last night he hit a pinnacle that is rarely met.  He was brilliant, erudite, witty, thoughtful, and wise.  He was terribly funny.  He presented ideas that few people in the audience had considered before, and he did so in a way that was accessible and riveting.  It’s something we all know already about Philip’s talents.  But there was something about watching him display his incredible range and depth, in this venue, that was extraordinary.  And he opened by stressing that Canadian legal history thrives because it is a collective, a community that shares, is supportive of its participants, and builds on our collectively diverse research and knowledge.  

It was a proud moment to be a Canadian legal historian.  I wish you had all been there to hear it.  It was simply wonderful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tunnicliffe, "Canada and the Human Rights Framework: Historiographical Trends"

In the latest issue of the online journal History Compass, Jennifer Tunnicliffe has an article on the historigraphy of human rights in Canada, "Canada and the Human Rights Framework: Historiographical Trends"

Here's the abstract:

This article examines trends in Canadian human rights history, with a focus on three major themes that have guided the scholarship: challenges to the characterization of Canada as a historically tolerant nation; a study of how, when, and through what mechanisms human rights became an important project for Canadians; and a critical assessment of the historical effectiveness of the human rights movement in promoting equality within Canadian society. In assessing where this vibrant and growing field of study could expand in the future, the article also contextualizes the Canadian historiography in the international literature on the development of the global human rights framework.

Osgoode Society 2014 Books launched...

Yesterday at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

Our 2014 books are:

  • The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal, 1792-2013, by Christopher Moore
  • Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953-84, by Dominique Clément
  • Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1785-1867, by Paul Craven
  • Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919, by Thomas Telfer

And they're all great. (Yes, I'm biased, but it's true. I haven't read every page of each of them yet, but I've been very impressed with what I've seen.)

To join the Osgoode Society and get the members' book for this year, Chris Moore's The Court of Appeal for Ontario, (included in the membership fee,) or to inquire about purchasing one or more of the others, please visit the Society website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

 New from UBC Press: Paths to the Bench: The Judicial Appointment Process in Manitoba, 1870-1950 by Dale Brawn of Laurentian University.

A lawyer wanting to become a judge in early 20th-century Manitoba could attract the attention of his peers through his work -- but it was a friendship with a powerful mentor that got him to the bench. 

In Paths to the Bench, Dale Brawn looks at the appointments and careers of early judges who were charged with laying the legal foundations of a province. With much at stake, judicial appointments were as much about personal ties and politics as they were about ability. Beliefs were scrutinized to ensure that they would not impede the province’s, and the nation’s, growth, while ongoing mentorships ensured that these beliefs were cultivated through shared kinship groups. 

By looking at both official records and correspondence from this era, Brawn uncovers the highly political nature of the judicial appointment process and the intricate bonds that ensured that judges acquired the values not of their society, but of their fellowship groups. His in-depth analysis also examines the distinct career trajectories of less competent and more competent lawyers and considers why many of the best and brightest members of the bar did not go to the bench. 

A fascinating look at the careers of practical, hard-headed, and extraordinarily influential judges, Paths to the Bench is also an incisive study of the political nature of Canada’s judicial appointment process.

Hat tip: Doug Harris via Twitter