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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chambers: A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario, 1921-2015

A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario, 1921-2015 by Lori Chambers is now in print. Members who selected this as their book for 2016 will have already received it in the mail or should receive it shortly.

Professor Chambers’ book traces the history of adoption law in Ontario from 1921, when the first Adoption Act was passed, to the present. She details the origins and passage of that legislation and then examines a series of legal changes and accompanying controversies, from debates about the meaning of consent by birth mothers to same-sex adoption. Many of these controversies – adoption of aboriginal children, international adoption, secrecy in adoption records – have emerged in the last few decades, and this is therefore very much a ‘modern’ history of adoption law. In analyzing the development of the law Chambers skilfully weaves together statutes and cases with extra-legal debates over the meaning of parental and childrens’ rights. 

A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario, 1921-2015 is one of two members' books for the Osgoode Society this year. Members can receive either this, or Brad Miller's Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914. The book not selected as your member's book can be purchased as an 'optional extra.' Also available for purchase as an optional extra is Law, Debt and Merchant Power: The Civil Courts of Eighteenth-Century Halifax by James Muir. 

Join the Osgoode Society now and select your book. Students pay $21.50, others $50.00. You can also become a sustaining member or corporate sustaining member for $155.00 or $500 respectively.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Doug Hay elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

The Osgoode Society congratulates Doug Hay on his recent election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. A very well deserved honour.

The entire announcement is well worth reading. Among other things, it says:

Douglas Hay has made a unique contribution both to the legal historiography of England and its former colonies and, more broadly, to interdisciplinary socio-legal scholarship in Canada. He combines a comprehensive approach to source materials with innovative methodology and a broad understanding of law’s relationship to society. A prolific scholar, enthusiastic collaborator and generous mentor, he has influenced countless colleagues, students and professional peers in both law and history.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Session added to fall schedule of Osgoode Society workshop

Please add this to the schedule previously distributed. Note the date is the 7th, not the 6th as incorrectly stated earlier. 

Wednesday December 7 - Nelson Ouellet, University of Moncton: Import/Export: The New Brunswick Workers’ Compensation System (1918-1932)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Osgoode Society oral histories database now online and searchable by keyword

Oral History at the Osgoode Society (blog post by Patricia McMahon, OS Oral History Coordinator)

Did you know that the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History has the world’s largest collection of oral histories relating to legal history?  Since 1979, the Society has conducted interviews with more 600 judges, judicial support staff, and senior members of the legal profession. It is a tremendous resource for historians and others who would like to learn more about the people who have shaped politics, business, and – of course – many areas of the law in Canada.

Now, you can search that collection by keyword at to find oral history interviews dealing with a variety of topics. Full transcripts can be reviewed at the Archives of Ontario or by contacting the Osgoode Society.

The search engine is a work-in-progress and we welcome your feedback. You can reach the Osgoode Society at

Friday, September 9, 2016

New issue of Rechtsgeschichte focused on translation, of particular interest to legal historians working with indigenous languages and customs

Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History issue 24

The most recent issue of the journal of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History has just been released and is now available online in open access and in print.

Rg 24 is dedicated to the concept of translation:C:\Users\goebel\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Rg_24.png
The research section opens the issue with a contribution from Gerhard Dilcher that has been translated into English: »The Germanists and the Historical School of Law: German Legal Science between Romanticism, Realism, and Rationalization«. This article is followed by an analysis by Jakob Zollmann that sheds light on an almost forgotten legal historical phenomenon, »Austrägalgerichtsbarkeit - Interstate Dispute Settlement in a Confederate Arrangement, 1815 to 1866«. Finally, Pedro Cardim addresses the expansive and fundamental field of research within legal history focusing on European empires, in particular the status of the overseas territories of the Iberian monarchy in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The first focus section, »Translators: Mediators in Legal Transfers«, deals with cultural translators of normativity, and the second focus, »Legal History in Action: Laying Down Indigenous Customs in Writing«, treats the translation of legal customs into writing – a translation into another medium. Such processes of translation may very well represent a key to understanding local, national, regional, or even global legal histories; however, in the past they have simply received insufficient consideration.
The two forum sections strive to provide a snapshot of a broad discussion concerning issues important to legal historical research. The first one poses the following question: what kind of research results can be expected from the much discussed »Digital Humanities«? In the second forum, legal historians were asked to assess the »State and Perspectives of the History of Social Law«.
In the critique section, important works within legal historical research published within the last two years are discussed, several of which also deal with translation. As always, we have again done our best to discuss as many publications as possible in a language other than that in which they were written. Journals are indeed also translators.
Click here to get to the Rg website, where you will find all contributions online in open access, or you can order a hardcopy directly from the publisher.

Hat tip: Nadine Goebel, publications manager of the Max Planck Institute. Any questions should be addressed to her at:
Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Hansaallee 41
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop, Fall Term 2016 Schedule

Apologies for not posting this earlier. Note the first session is Wednesday of this week. Also note we have one open spot, December 6th. Please email Jim at if you are interested in presenting.


All sessions in Jackman Building, Room 230. All  sessions start at 6.30 p.m

Wednesday September 14 – Ryan Alford, Lakehead University: ‘Understanding Judicial Tolerance of Executive Branch Unilateralism: Changing Dynamics in the American Federal Judicial Appointments Process 1972-2010.’  

Wednesday September 21 – Thomas Mohr, University College Dublin: TBA

Wednesday October 12 – Paul Craven, York University: “Just Cause – Industrial Discipline at Arbitration in the 1940s.”

Wednesday October 26 – Bradley Miller, University of British Columbia: “Dangerous Doctrine: Jurisdiction in the Northeastern Boundary Dispute.”

Thursday October 27 – 5 – 7 - Annual Osgoode Society Book Launch, and Opening Reception, American Society for Legal History Conference

Friday October 28 – American Society for Legal History Conference in Toronto

Saturday October 29 – American Society for Legal History Conference in Toronto

Wednesday November 9 – Suzie Chiodo, Osgoode Hall Law School: "Class Roots: The Genesis of the Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1966-1992"

Wednesday November 23 – Constance Backhouse, University of Ottawa:  “Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Feminist Legal Biography”

Wednesday December 6 - OPEN