Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914

Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914

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By Bradley Miller
Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
304 Pages
ISBN 9781487501273
Published Oct 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $65.00    $48.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781487512842
Published Oct 2016
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $65.00

From 1819 to 1914, governments in northern North America struggled to deal with crime and criminals migrating across the Canadian-American border. Limited by the power of territorial sovereignty, officials were unable to simply retrieve fugitives and refugees from foreign territory.

Borderline Crime examines how law reacted to the challenge of the border in British North America and post-Confederation Canada. For nearly a century, officials ranging from high court judges to local police officers embraced the ethos of transnational enforcement of criminal law. By focusing on common criminals, escaped slaves, and political refugees, Miller reveals a period of legal genesis where both formal and informal legal regimes were established across northern North America and around the world to extradite and abduct fugitives. Miller also reveals how the law remained confused, amorphous, and often ineffectual at confronting the threat of the border to the rule of law. This engrossing history will be of interest to legal, political, and intellectual historians alike.

Bradley Miller is an assistant professor in the Department History at the University of British Columbia, where he holds the Keenleyside Chair in Canada and the World.

Chapter 1: Introduction 

Part I: Sovereign Borders and Criminal Law in Northern North America

Chapter 2: The Everyday Challenge of Sovereignty     

Chapter 3: The Low and High Law of Abduction in the Border Zone 

Part II: Uncertainty, Amorphousness, and Non-Law

Chapter 4: International Law and Supranational Justice in Northern North America     

Chapter 5: The Non-Law of Refugees in British North America

Part III: Law Formation in the Treaty Era

Chapter 6: Civilization on the Continent: Law Reform and Imperial Power     

Chapter 7: Law Formation in the Common Law World 

Chapter 8: Conclusion  

"Professor Miller’s fascinating book makes a valuable contribution to international legal history and to our understanding of the relationships between international, British imperial and Canadian law at the high and low levels – which turn out to look remarkably different from one another – and of circuits of law within the British Empire."

Karen Knop, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

"Miller is not only intimately familiar with but also extensively and very appropriately uses the internal literature on extradition, asylum, and related issues as the foundation of his study. Borderline Crime is an intriguing and illuminating study."

Jane Errington, Department of History, Queen’s University