Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History


The purpose of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is to encourage research and writing in the history of Canadian law. The Society, which was incorporated in 1979 and is registered as a charity, was founded at the initiative of the Honourable R. Roy McMurty, formerly attorney general for Ontario and chief justice of the province, and officials of the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Society seeks to stimulate the study of legal history in Canada by supporting researchers, collecting oral histories, and publishing volumes that contribute to legal-historical scholarship in Canada. It has published books on the courts, the judiciary, and the legal profession, as well as on the history of crime and punishment, women and law, law and economy, the legal treatment of the ethnic minorities, and famous cases and significant trials in all areas of the law.


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A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario. 1921-2015
A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario. 1921-2015
By Lori Chambers

Lori Chambers’ fascinating study explores the legal history of adoption in Ontario since the passage of the first statute in 1921.

Published Oct 2016
Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914
Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914
By Bradley Miller

Borderline Crime examines how law reacted to the challenge of the border in British North America and post-Confederation Canada.Miller also reveals how the law remained confused, amorphous, and often ineffectual at confronting the threat of the border to the rule of law.

Published Oct 2016
Law, Debt, and Merchant Power: The Civil Courts of 18th Century Halifax
Law, Debt, and Merchant Power: The Civil Courts of 18th Century Halifax
By James Muir

In the early history of Halifax (1749-1766), debt litigation was extremely common. In Law, Debt, and Merchant Power, James Muir offers an extensive analysis of the civil cases of the time as well as the reasons behind their frequency.

Published Sep 2016
Honorary Protestants: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997
Honorary Protestants: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997
By David Fraser

In Honorary Protestants, David Fraser presents the first legal history of the Jewish school question in Montreal.

Published Nov 2015
My Life in Crime and Other Academic Adventures
My Life in Crime and Other Academic Adventures
By Martin L. Friedland

My Life in Crime and other Academic Adventures reflects upon a life devoted to education, scholarship, and the law, and is an insider account of public policy issues that have come to shape life in this country in the twentieth century and beyond.

Published May 2015
The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal in Canada, 1792-2013
The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal in Canada, 1792-2013
By Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore’s history of the Court of Appeal for Ontario traces the evolution of one of Canada’s most influential courts from its origins to the post-Charter years.

Published Oct 2014
Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919
Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919
By Thomas G. W. Telfer

Ruin and Redemption is the first full-length study of the origins of Canadian bankruptcy law, making it an important contribution to the study of Canada’s commercial law.

Published Oct 2014
Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1785-1867
Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1785-1867
By Paul Craven

Petty Justice examines the role of justices of the peace and other front-line low law officials like customs officers and deputy land surveyors in colonial local government.

Published Oct 2014
Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Quebec and the Canadas
Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Quebec and the Canadas
Edited by G. Blaine Baker and Donald Fyson

The essays in this volume deal with the legal history of the Province of Quebec, Upper and Lower Canada, and the Province of Canada between the British conquest of 1759 and confederation of the British North America colonies in 1867.

Published Oct 2013
Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada
Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada
By R. Blake Brown

Arming and Disarming provides a careful exploration of how social, economic, cultural, legal, and constitutional concerns shaped gun legislation and its implementation, as well as how these factors defined Canada’s historical and contemporary ‘gun culture.’

Published Oct 2013