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Thursday, September 18, 2014

CJLS/RCDS: Call for Special Issue Proposals

The Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société   (CJLS/RCDS) is pleased to invite proposals for our Special Issue to appear in 2016. We welcome proposals covering any topic in the field of law and society. Please see the attached guidelines for more detailed information about the Journal, submission processes, and contact information. Proposals are due by November 1st.

About the Journal: The Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société is a bilingual periodical publishing innovative research in the broad field of law and society scholarship. Rooted in the distinctive Canadian Law and Society movement, CJLS features international scholarship concerning the intersection of law and sociology, cultural studies, literature, political science, criminology, history, human rights, gender studies and political economy. The journal is edited by Professors Benjamin L. Berger, Joane Martel, and Dawn Moore, and supported by an international editorial board comprised of leading scholars from a range of disciplines.

A sample successful proposal is available on request: email

CFP: Law in Transition - Association of Young Legal Historians Annual Forum

Via David Schorr and H-Law, a call for papers for The XXIst Annual Forum of Young Legal Historians, and 6th Berg Institute International Conference, with the theme "Law in Transition," which will take place at Tel Aviv University March 1-3, 2015.

The upcoming XXIst Annual Forum of the Association of Young Legal Historians aims at a comprehensive discussion of law in transition. A wide variety of transitions of historical significance can be explored: political, economic, social, cultural, and more. “Law”—legal symbols, discourses, players, institutions, theories, and texts—has played a significant role in historical transitions, and legal historians have been crucial in exploring its multiple and contradictory effects. The stakes are not just historical, but current: these studies encourage transitions in the way law itself is conceived, theorised, and researched.
We invite young legal historians to present papers dealing with any aspect of law in transition. (Proposals on other topics will also be considered.) Papers can explore specific events or periods in a particular region or state, or provide a comparative analysis of different periods or multiple locations. Papers can focus on local questions or deal with transnational legal justice. We welcome papers combining legal transitions with political, economic, social, and cultural ones. Methodological reflections are also welcome:  Have legal transitions been “top-down” or “bottom-up”? What have been the legal sources of transition? What are the relationships between legal and non-legal histories of transition? What conceptions of law, its forms of operation, its effects, and its significance inform the analysis of transition?
The conference's discussion formats will vary to include panels of 3-4 independent papers, roundtables, panels dedicated to a specific book (including author-meets-readers if authors can attend), and panels dedicated to a canonical article. The organising committee encourages the submission of proposals for all of these formats, and will also welcome new and exploratory formats.
Presentations may be given in any major language, but English-language presentations are likely to receive the widest audience.
The deadline for proposals is 1 November 2014; please Decisions will be made quickly.
-          Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of up to 350 words and a short c.v.
-          Proposals for full panels should include, in addition to individual paper proposals, an abstract introducing the theme of the panel.
-          Proposals for roundtables should include an introduction of theme, abstracts of presenters’ intended comments (up to 100 words for each presenter), and a short c.v. for each participant.
-          Proposals for panels discussing a single book or article should include a full citation of the book or article, an explanation of its significance, abstracts of the papers, and a short c.v. for each participant.
The conference fee will be ILS 450 (approximately 95 Euro). The program will include social events and tours.
Discounted conference fees and accommodation at a nominal charge will be available for participants with no institutional funding. Applicants requesting such support should explain their request in a document accompanying their submission.
The Call for Papers can be found here. Further information about the Association of Young Legal Historians and past Annual Forums can be found at Please direct any questions about the conference to
The conference is sponsored by the David Berg Foundation Institute for Law and History, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, with the support of the TAU Office of the Vice President, Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Entin Faculty of Humanities, and Yavetz Graduate School of Historical Studies.
We look forward to welcoming you to Tel Aviv.
The Organising Committee: Omer Aloni, Yael Braudo-Bahat, Doreen Lustig, Dina Moyal, Anat Rosenberg, David Schorr

Binnema, "Protecting Indian Lands by Defining Indian: 1850-76"

In the current issue of Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'études canadiennes , an article by Ted Binnema of UNBC entitled "Protecting Indian Lands by Defining Indian: 1850-76". 

Here's the abstract:

In 1850, the government of the Province of Canada defined Indian for the first time. In the twentieth century, the legal provisions by which generations of status Indian women in Canada lost their status when they married non-status men became among the most controversial aspects of Canadian legislation relating to First Nations peoples. The government’s decision to define Indian, and its actual definitions, came to exemplify the coercive nature of Canadian Indian policy. This essay challenges many assumptions regarding the history of Canada’s definition of Indian. A close examination shows that officials only reluctantly decided to define Indian in law in 1850 in efforts to protect Indian land in Lower Canada. The evidence also shows that the first legal definition ofIndian was intended to conform to the “ancient customs and traditions” of these Indigenous communities. Furthermore, government officials consulted meaningfully with Aboriginal leaders when they revised the definition between 1851 and 1876. During the entire period, the Aboriginal political elite were effective advocates for their own interests.

En 1850, le gouvernement de la Province du Canada a défini le terme indien pour la première fois. Au XXe siècle, les dispositions légales qui avaient entraîné la perte du statut de plusieurs générations de femmes indiennes au Canada lorsqu’elles avaient épousé des non-Indiens en viennent à représenter un aspect parmi les plus controversés de la législation canadienne visant les Premières nations. La décision du gouvernement de définir le terme indien, et sa définition même, ont fini par illustrer la nature coercitive des politiques indiennes du Canada. Le présent article questionne plusieurs des hypothèses sur l’historique de la définition canadienne du terme indien. Un examen approfondi montre que les autorités ont finalement décidé avec beaucoup de réticence de définir le terme indien dans la loi en 1850 afin de pouvoir protéger les terres indiennes dans le Bas-Canada. Les éléments probants montrent également que la première définition légale du terme indien visait à se conformer aux « coutumes et traditions anciennes » des communautés indigènes. Les représentants du gouvernement ont consulté véritablement les leaders autochtones lorsqu’ils ont révisé la définition entre 1851 et 1876. Pendant toute cette période, l’élite politique autochtone a plaidé efficacement en faveur de ses propres intérêts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Harris and Au on the Abolition of Notice in Title Registration of Real Property in BC in SSRN

Doug Harris of UBC Faculty of Law and former student May Au have posted "Title Registration and the Abolition of Notice in British Columbia" on SSRN. The article will be published in The UBC Law Review. 


Systems of land law must balance competing goals of securing title for existing interests in land with facilitating their transfer. Title registration systems operate to facilitate transfers of interests in land. They reflect a choice to enhance the security of transfers of interests, providing what has been characterized as dynamic security at the expense of the static security of existing interests. One of the cardinal principles of title registration is the abolition of the doctrine of notice. In equity, if purchasers of a legal interest have notice of a prior equitable interest, then they take their interest subject to that prior interest. To do otherwise is to perpetrate a fraud. Most title registration systems abolish notice; prior unregistered interests do not affect purchasers who register their interests, whether or not they have notice of the prior interest, except, so many title registration statutes provide, in the case of fraud. This article investigates the evolution of provisions purporting to abolish notice in Torrens title jurisdictions, it describes the variety of provisions that emerged, it reviews the longstanding uncertainty in British Columbia over the extent to which the doctrine of notice is abolished, and it considers a number of proposals for reform. It concludes that the uncertainty is a function of an unresolved policy choice between static and dynamic security, and that the British Columbia Court of Appeal or the legislature needs to intervene to clarify that choice.

Monday, September 15, 2014

McNeil on Indigenous Rights Litigation, Legal History, and the Role of Experts

Kent McNeil of Osgoode Hall Law School has what looks like an intriguing article in the Summer 2014 issue of the Saskatchewan Law Review, "Indigenous Rights Litigation, Legal History, and the Role of Experts."
Abstract unavailable.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Updated Fall 2014 Schedule for Legal History Group

2014 Fall Schedule: Osgoode Society Legal History Group

** All sessions will be held at the University of Toronto, in Victoria College (Old Vic building) Room 211 except October 1, which will  be held in Northrup Frye Hall, Room 008 **
Exit the subway at Museum Station, east exit. Old Vic is to the southeast of the Birge-Carnegie Library, where we met last year. The Northrup Frye building is to the south of the Birge-Carnegie Library and Emmanuel College, backing on Queen's Park Circle. For a map of U of T, see here.

Wednesday September 10 - Ian Kyer, "Equity and the Private Sector Service Provider: The Battle between the City of Toronto and the Toronto Railway Company in the Privy Council"

Wednesday September 24 -  Blaine Baker, University of Toronto, “Testamentary Archeology in Late-Victorian Ontario: William Martin’s Little, Posthumous Legal System"

Wednesday October 1 –*new* Paul Craven, York University, "Imagining a low law history of labour arbitration in Ontario"

Wednesday October 15 - Sam McLean, King's College, London: "Courts-Martial and the Creation of the Early-Modern Royal Navy"

Wednesday October 29 - Joseph Dunlop, University of Toronto: "The Catholic Legislator in a Pluralistic Society: From Pierre Trudeau to Paul Martin."

November 5 - Reading Week

Wednesday November 12 - Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: "A History of Law in Canada, 1701-1815"

Wednesday November 26 – Art Linton, Magna Carta Canada, TBA

***Wednesday December 3 – Dennis Molinaro, University of Toronto, "Liberal Communists and Communist Liberals: Section 98 and Civil Rights in Canada." ** Note new date

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rueck on Commons, Enclosure, and Resistance in Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory, 1850-1900

In the new issue of the Canadian Historical Review, an article by Daniel Rueck, entitled, "Commons, Enclosure, and Resistance in Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory, 1850-1900".

Here's the abstract:

Historical communities that have held lands in common have, without exception, had strict regulations for using those lands. This was true also in Kahnawá:ke, a Mohawk community near Montreal, where community leaders articulated and enforced customary land laws until the last decades of the nineteenth century. Although a few Mohawks contested these laws in the nineteenth century, the Canadian government undermined, dismantled, and replaced customary land law in the 1870s and 1880s. This article reveals the way the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs exacerbated resource and land shortages in its attempts to undermine Kahnawá:ke leaders, gain control of the land, and ultimately to disperse the community. It describes a chaotic transition from regulated common property to a form of private property under the Indian Act and argues that this transformation was part of a global enclosure movement that continues to this day. Nevertheless, the Canadian government was unable to bring its project to completion, in large part the result of effective resistance offered by Kahnawá:ke Mohawks. The article draws attention to the extraordinary nature of this successful Indigenous resistance to the Canadian state in the late nineteenth century.