Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919

Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919

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By Thomas G. W. Telfer
Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
328 Pages 6 Images
ISBN 9780802093431
Published Oct 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $75.00    $56.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442619692
Published Nov 2014
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $75.00

In 1880 the federal Parliament of Canada repealed the Insolvent Act of 1875, leaving debtor-creditor matters to be regulated by the provinces. Almost forty years later, Parliament finally passed new bankruptcy legislation, recognizing that what was once considered a moral evil had become a commercial necessity. In Ruin and Redemption, Thomas G.W. Telfer analyses the ideas, interests, and institutions that shaped the evolution of Canadian bankruptcy law in this era. Examining the vigorous public debates over the idea of bankruptcy, Telfer argues that the law was shaped by conflict over the morality of release from debts and by the divergence of interests between local and distant creditors. Ruin and Redemption is the first full-length study of the origins of Canadian bankruptcy law, thus making it an important contribution to the study of Canada’s commercial law.

Thomas G. W. Telfer is a professor in the Faculty of Law at Western University.


Chapter 1: Ideas, Interests, and Institutions

PART I 1867–1880

Chapter 2: The Constitutional and Legislative History 1867-1880
Chapter 3: The Rise and Fall of Bankruptcy Law 1867-1880: The Equitable Distribution of Assets
Chapter 4: The Repeal of Bankruptcy Law 1867-1880: The Discharge
Chapter 5: The Role of Institutions 1867-1880

PART II 1880–1903
Chapter 6: Living With Repeal and the Failure of Federal Reform: 1880-1903
Chapter 7: The Constitutional Question and the Impact of Federalism: 1880-1903
Chapter 8: The Bankruptcy Law Debates: 1880-1903

PART III 1903–1919
Chapter 9: Reform Achieved: The Bankruptcy Act of 1919
Chapter 10: Conclusion

Appendix to Chapter 6

“It is rare to find a work on commercial law that animates the law and its history by drawing insight from political debate, social context and commentary, economic analysis and literature, as well as legislation, case law, and parliamentary records. Ruin and Redemption is a valuable addition to the legal and historical literature on insolvency law.”

Tamara Buckwold, Faculty of Law, University of Alberta

Ruin and Redemption is a significant contribution to the history of Canadian bankruptcy law. It demonstrates skilfully how ideas and interests, and the institutional structures which shaped them, contributed to Canada rejecting bankruptcy law in 1880 and not passing a national statute until 1919. Scholars from a variety of disciplines interested in comparative analysis of bankruptcy law development will benefit from reading this book.” 

Iain Ramsay, Kent Law School, University of Kent

‘This is an excellent piece of scholarship.’

Andrew Smith, Journal of Legal History vol 37:2016

‘Once established in the aftermath of the First World War, federal bankruptcy legislation in Canada has almost certainly become a permanent part of the economic landscape. Telfer’s monumental study is the definitive explanation for how that important sea change came to pass.’

Charles J. Tabb, Law and History Review May 2016

‘Tom Telfer deserves our congratulations for shining a light on what until now was an obscure and little-known episode in our legal history.’

Roderick J. Wood, Canadian Business Law Journal vol 57:03:2016

Ruin and Redemption is a valuable addition to the excellent catalogue of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. It helps historians to better understand the legal structures involved in the regulation of debt and obligation.’

Daniel Simeone, Canadian Historical Review vol 96:02:2015

‘Law students, professors, and those interested in Canadian history generally can all take away something of value from this book. Telfer’s analysis is easy to follow…. No legal background is required to derive insight from reading this book.’

Sean Tessarolo, Saskatchewan Law Review vol 78:2015