Search This Blog


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sarah Hamill 2015-6 Catalyst Fellow at Osgoode Hall Law School

I'm so sorry I missed this when it was announced in the spring.

Congratulations, Sarah! We are so happy to have you back in Toronto. (Sad for the legal history community in Edmonton though.)

Note to all: Please send me your announcements and achievements so I can spread the news, since I do miss a lot despite best efforts. I promise I won't take it as boasting!

Tribute to Roy McMurtry held at Osgoode Hall

Yesterday evening members of the bench and bar, academics, and friends of Canadian Legal History gathered at Osgoode Hall in Toronto to thank Roy McMurtry, founder and long time president of the Osgoode Society on the occasion of his retirement from the presidency.

Roy has been honoured many times before, as is fitting given his many contributions to Canadian society through law and politics. But as editor-in-chief Jim Phillips remarked in his address, Roy's initiative in establishing the society, and his efforts in securing its success, including hiring the late Professor Peter Oliver as first editor in chief, attracting support from the bar, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario, as well as authoring one of our books, are far from least of these contributions. (You can read about the founding of the society in Roy's Memoirs and Reflections, published in 2013.) The Society could not have reached its current state of excellence (100 books and counting) without him.

Thankfully, Roy will continue to be involved with the society as past president.

Call for Papers: Conference to honour Doug Hay, Osgoode Hall Law School, May 5, 2016

To honour the recent retirement of Professor C. Douglas Hay from York University, where he held appointments in the Department of History and Osgoode Hall Law School, a conference in his honour will be held at York University on Thursday, 5 May 2016.  “Doug” is one of the best-known legal historians in the English-speaking world, an achievement recently recognized when the American Society of Legal History named him an honorary fellow.  While his scholarship has been devoted primarily to British topics, Doug has also contributed to Canadian legal history, particularly with respect to post-1760 Quebec.  His work on both Britain and Canada has been an inspiration to Canadian scholars for its scope, ambition, sophistication and creative utilization of sources, while providing interpretive frameworks that have been readily adopted in a broad range of Canadian scholarship.     
The organizers expect that the British historical community will find its own way of honouring Doug.  This conference is aimed at Canadianists who have worked on topics or themes similar to those found in Doug’s scholarship, or who have employed his approaches in their own writing.  We are particularly interested in hearing from Doug’s former graduate students.  Proposals are welcome from scholars or graduate students in any academic discipline, from independent scholars, and from those in professional practice.  The only substantive requirement is that the proposal engage with the nexus of law and history in some way.
A selection of the papers will appear in a theme issue of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal devoted to Doug’s career and legacy.  Papers chosen as candidates for publication must pass through the Journal's peer review requirements
500-word paper proposals should be sent to us at the email addresses below by Monday 7 December 2015. Decisions will be made early in January 2016. Applications for funding are in progress and we aim to provide reimbursement for travel costs of graduate students, pre-tenure scholars and those in precarious work situations.  Please indicate in your proposal whether you are likely to need such support.  

Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School,
Jim Phillips, University of Toronto Faculty of Law & Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History,
William Wicken, York University Department of History,  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Smith on History of Intestate Succession in Quebec on SSRN

Lionel Smith has posted "Intestate Succession in Quebec" on SSRN. The essay will appear in Kenneth G C Reid, Marius J de Waal, and Reinhard Zimmermann (eds), Comparative Succession Law, volume II: Intestate Succession (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Here's the abstract:

When Quebec became part of the British Empire, its private law was the Custom of Paris. By the Quebec Act 1774, this customary law was retained with the important exception that full freedom of testation was granted. The customary law continued to apply, including for intestate succession, until 1866, long after it had ceased to operate in France. In that year the Civil Code of Lower Canada came into force; for intestate succession, a system based on that of the French Civil Code was adopted. This system was modified only slightly with the coming into force in 1994 of the Civil Code of Québec.

This paper traces the evolution of the law of intestate succession in Quebec up to the modern day, touching also on the different intestacy rules that may apply to First Nations people living in the province.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Osgoode Society legal history workshop--final fall schedule with room information



All sessions are at 6.30 p.m., in Northrop Frye 119. The Northrop Frye Building is immediately to the south of the main Victoria College Building, across from the law school. Museum subway stop, take the east exit.  Here's a map.

Wednesday September 23 – Brian Young, McGill University: ‘Law, landed families, and intergenerational issues in nineteenth-century Quebec.’

Wednesday October 7 – Ian Kyer: ‘The Canada Deposit Insurance Act of 1967: a Federal Response to a Constitutional Quandry.’

Wednesday October 21 – Paul Craven, York University:  ‘The 'Judges Clause': Judges as Labour Arbitrators, 1910-1970.’

Wednesday November 4 – David Fraser, University of Nottingham: ‘ “Honorary Protestants”: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997.’

(Thursday November 5 – Osgoode Society Annual Book Launch, Osgoode Hall)

Wednesday November  18 – Jacqueline Briggs, University of Toronto: ‘R. v. Jonathan: A Case in Context Study'

Wednesday December 2 – Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: ‘A History of Law in Canada, 1815-1850.’

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Perrault,"'Sans honte et sans regret': Les chemins de traverse entre le pénal et le psychiatrique dans les cas d’aliénation criminelle à Montréal, 1920–1950"

Isabelle Perrault has published "« Sans honte et sans regret » : Les chemins de traverse entre le pénal et le psychiatrique dans les cas d’aliénation criminelle à Montréal, 1920–1950" in Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadien d'histoire de la medicine.


C’est le Dr Daniel Plouffe, psychiatre responsable des cas de transferts de femmes de la Prison des femmes Fullum à l’Hôpital Saint-Jean-de-Dieu et du traitement des hommes internés à l’Hôpital pour aliénés criminels de la Prison de Bordeaux, qui est en charge de l’évaluation des aliénés criminels entre 1920 et 1950. À l’aide des dossiers de patients internés à l’Hôpital Saint-Jean-de-Dieu, cet article propose une analyse des comportements criminels et, surtout, des indices permettant aux nouveaux experts de statuer sur l’état mental de la personne lors du crime. Assauts, vagabondage, prostitution, pyromanie, violence,et vols sont quelques-uns des comportements inscrits au dossier qui ont déclenché le processus judiciaire de mise à l’écart et, par la suite, de psychiatrisation. 
Ces dossiers serviront à illustrer les lentes mais fructueuses tentatives des médecins légistes et psychiatres qui ont exercé des pressions pour la reconnaissance de ce champ d’expertise où on entend traiter plutôt que punir les criminels mentalement dérangés.

Dr Daniel Plouffe, the psychiatrist in charge of women’s transfers from the Fullum Women Prison to Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Hospital and of men’s incarceration at Bordeaux Hospital for the Insane, was, more generally, the one who evaluated the criminally insane between 1920 and 1950. Using records of patients committed to Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Hospital, this article provides an analysis of criminal behaviour and, most importantly, of signs on which new experts could decide the mental state (mind) of a person during a crime. Assault, vagrancy, prostitution, arson, violence, and theft are some of the behaviours noted in the records that triggered the judicial process leading to the segregation of individuals and subsequently, to their receiving a psychiatric diagnosis.
These cases serve to illustrate the slow but successful attempts of forensic psychiatrists who lobbied for the recognition of this field of expertise and who intended to treat rather than punish criminals who were recognized as mentally disturbed.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Call for Applications: Tenure stream position, U of T Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies

Job Field: Tenure Stream
Faculty / Division: Faculty of Arts and Science
Department: Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
Campus: St. George (downtown Toronto)
Job Posting: 30 June 2015
Job closing: 15 September 2015
The Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto invites applications for a tenure stream appointment in the area of Criminology or Sociolegal Studies. The appointment will be at the rank of Assistant Professor and will commence on July 1, 2016. Research and teaching expertise in the area of criminal justice, either in a domestic or international context is preferred.
The Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies is internationally renowned for the study of law, crime, order, and security from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches. With backgrounds in sociology, history, law, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and political science, faculty are actively engaged in Canadian and international criminological research and teaching. We welcome applications from scholars from those and other relevant backgrounds.
The successful candidate will teach in both the undergraduate and graduate programs and they will be expected to develop an independently funded program of research. Candidates must be able to teach a selection of courses in criminology, and law and society, and must have strong communication skills as well as demonstrated success in developing students’ mastery of a subject and of the latest developments in the field.
Applicants must have earned a PhD in criminology, law, or a cognate social science discipline by the date of appointment, or shortly thereafter, and must have a demonstrated record of excellence in teaching and research. Evidence of excellence in teaching will be demonstrated by letters of reference, teaching evaluations, dossier and/or syllabi submitted as part of the application. Candidates also must have strong evidence of research of an internationally competitive caliber, demonstrated by publications in leading journals in the relevant field, presentations at significant conferences, awards and accolades, and strong endorsements by referees.
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Applications should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, as well as research and teaching statements. If you have any questions about this position, please contact All application materials should be submitted online.
Applicants should also ask three referees to send letters directly to the department via email to: crim.admin@utoronto.caby 15 September 2015.
Submission guidelines can be found at: We recommend combining documents into one or two files in PDF/MS Word format.
For further information on the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, please visit our website
The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.