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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Register now for an evening of legal history with Justice Robert Sharpe


5:30 p.m. February 27th
Osgoode Hall-Museum Room, 130 Queen St.W.

Join us for the Osgoode Society's first evening session of legal history for legal professionals and earn 20 minutes of Professionalism CLE credit at the same time

Justice Robert Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal will discuss the career and influence of the Honourable Brian Dickson, Chief Justice of Canada from 1984 to 1990.

Justice Sharpe is  uniquely positioned to provide insight into the working life of the Supreme Court of Canada. He served as Executive Legal Officer to Chief Justice Dickson and is the co-author of Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey (with Kent Roach).

This lecture is for Osgoode Society members only. Please renew your membership for 2018 if you haven't already done so, or join now for the first time.  Membership brings many benefits:  our 2018 members book, which will be A History of Law in Canada Volume I: 1500 to 1866 by Philip Girard, Jim Phillips and Blake Brown; other lectures and events; our quarterly newsletter with information on the Osgoode Society and Canadian legal history generally.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

CJLS/RCDS call for special issue proposals (deadline March 2)

CALL FOR SPECIAL ISSUE PROPOSALS (For summer 2019 issue) DUE March 2, 2018

The Editorial Board of CJLS/RCDS is seeking proposals for the 2019 special edition of the Journal (Volume 34.2) for publication in the summer of 2019. The annual thematic special issue, curated by guest editors, is selected by the Editorial Board. Each issue explores a theme across a range of genres by contributions from a potentially diverse group of scholars. CJLS/RCDS is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal that produces cutting edge research dealing with law and its social and cultural context.

Past special issue topics included: • 2017 – Law, Vulnerability and Segregation: What have we learned from Ashley Smith’s carceral Death? • 2016 – Financial Transfers Between Spouses on Divorce: Logics of Need, Restitution, or Compensation? • 2015 – Ways of Knowing Atrocity

Proposals by potential guest editors must comply with CJLS/RCDS Submission and Special Issue Guidelines aimed at assisting those interested in submitting manuscripts to CJLS/RCDS. See our Guidelines here. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Proposals should be emailed to by March 2, 2018. For further information on the Journal, including the role of guest editors, and general information on the publication process, and the journal style guide, please visit the website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Editor-in-Chief for either our English or French manuscripts: Benjamin L. Berger Editor-in-Chief, English Manuscripts, Eric Reiter Editor-in-Chief, English Manuscripts, Joane Martel Editor-in-Chief, French Manuscripts,

APPEL DE PROPOSITIONS POUR LE NUMÉRO SPÉCIAL (Numéro de l’été 2019) Date limite : le 2 mars 2018

Le comité de rédaction de la RCDS/CJLS lance un appel de propositions pour le numéro spécial de la Revue qui sera publié au cours de l’été 2019. Le thème du numéro spécial annuel, préparé et organisé par les rédacteurs invités, est sélectionné par le comité de rédaction. Chaque numéro spécial se consacre à l’étude d’un thème à travers une palette de genres par des contributions d’un groupe d’universitaires potentiellement diversifié. La RCDS/CJLS est une revue interdisciplinaire évaluée par les pairs qui produit de la recherche innovatrice dans le domaine du droit et de son contexte social et culturel.

Exemples de thèmes de numéros spéciaux : • 2017 – Droit, vulnérabilité et ségrégation : qu’avons nous appris de la mort carcérale d’Ashley Smith? • 2016 – Transferts financiers entre conjoints après le divorce : logiques du besoin, de la restitution ou de la compensation? • 2015 – La production de connaissances sur les atrocités

Les propositions des rédacteurs invités potentiels doivent respecter les directives pour le numéro spécial destinées à l’intention de ceux et celles intéressés à soumettre des manuscrits à la RCDS/CJLS. Vous trouverez les directives ici. Les demandes incomplètes ne seront pas considérées. Les propositions doivent être envoyées par courriel à avant le 2 mars 2018. Pour plus de renseignements sur la Revue, incluant le rôle des rédacteurs-invités, et des informations générales sur le processus de publication et le guide de rédaction de la Revue, veuillez consulter le site web.

N’hésitez pas à communiquer avec les rédacteurs en chef pour toutes questions : Joane Martel Rédactrice en chef, langue française, Benjamin L. Berger Rédacteur en chef, langue anglaise, Eric Reiter Rédacteur en chef, langue anglaise,

Friday, January 19, 2018

Save the date! Justice Robert Sharpe to speak about Chief Justice Brian Dickson Feb 27

The Osgoode Society announces its first evening session of legal history for legal professionals!

We don't have all the details ready yet, but please save the time, date and place: 5:30 pm, February 27th, Osgoode Hall. Further details on the programme, including how to register, will be posted on our website and on this blog.

Justice Sharpe will discuss the career and influence of the Honourable Brian Dickson, Chief Justice of Canada from 1984-1990on the development of Canadian law.

Justice Sharpe is uniquely positioned to provide insight into the working life of the Court, then and now.  He served as Executive Legal Officer to Chief Justice Dickson and later co-authored his biography, Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Craven, "Just Cause--Industrial Discipline at Arbitration in the 1940s"

Paul Craven has published "Just Cause--Industrial Discipline at Arbitration in the 1940s" in the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal.

The Journal does not provide an abstract, but Professor Craven has kindly provided the editor's summary:

The principal elements of just cause protection for unionized workers in
the context of industrial discipline can be summed up in what the author refers
to as the “four Rs”: reasons, reinstatement, equitable relief, and representation.
While the scope and meaning of just cause came to be fully developed in the
arbitral jurisprudence of the 1960s and 1970s, several of its core aspects are
of considerably older provenance. This paper throws light on a little-known
chapter in the development of the “common law of the shop” by reporting on the
results of primary research into mostly unreported arbitration awards in discipline cases, conducted under the auspices of the Ontario Department of Labour in the wartime and immediate post-war periods. 
Although they did not set out to create a systematic jurisprudence, the arbitrators in those early cases clearly anticipated the established model of corrective and industrial discipline: they gave effect to a requirement for reasons; reinstated employees found innocent of allegations of wrongdoing and awarded compensation; articulated a need for prior warnings and a culminating incident; “made the punishment fit the crime”by substituting lesser penalties and taking into account mitigating factors such as length of service; and afforded a measure of protection to union officials against reprisal while emphasizing their responsibility for securing compliance with grievance procedures. Ultimately, the author argues, the early arbitrators saw their role chiefly as the cultivation of workplace harmony and avoidance of work stoppages, seeking to reconcile industrial unionism with industrial peace.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Osgoode Society Books on Sale until December 14


Our back catalogue is on sale for $10 per book plus shipping

Looking for a good book to give as a gift this Holiday Season? Missing something from the more than 100 books published by the Osgoode Society?

Whether you’re looking for biographies or collections of essays, we have something for every reader.

Simply fill out the form and email it to the Osgoode Society ( As a bonus, every person who purchases a book may receive a free copy of Cornerstones of Order: Courthouses and Town Halls of Ontario, 1784-1914 by Marion MacRae and Anthony Adamson (shipping not included).

We will contact you once we process your order, and provide you with an estimate for the cost of shipping if applicable. (If you can come to Osgoode Hall in Toronto you will be able to pick up your books at the Osgoode Society's office for free).

The sale is open to non-members as well as members.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

David Steeves interviewed about Daniel Samson Case on CTV Atlantic

On November 25th, David Steeves was interviewed by Bruce Frisko of CTV Atlantic on the subject of Daniel Samson, a black Nova Scotian accused of murder in a controversial case in the 1930s. Earlier that week, the Samson case was the subject of a two-part series by CTV Atlantic on the last execution in Halifax. David’s essay on the case, "Maniacal Murderer or Death Dealing Car: The Case of Daniel Perry Samson, 1933-1935" appeared in The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays (Osgoode Society for Legal History, 2012), and was a co-winner of the Society’s Peter Oliver prize for that year.

Here's a link to the interview.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop Schedule for winter-spring 2018


All sessions at 6.30. Room TBA.

Wednesday January 17: Robyn Schwarz, Western University: “Protecting the Nuclear Family: A Gendered Analysis of the 1968 Divorce Act”. 

Wednesday January 31 – Elizabeth Koester, University of Toronto: ‘Litigating Eugenics:  The 1936 Eastview Birth Control Trial’.

Wednesday February 14: Tom Telfer, Western University: ‘The New Bankruptcy “Detective Agency”? The Origins of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Great Depression Canada.’

Wednesday February 28 - Donald Fyson, Laval University: TBA

Wednesday March 14: Jeff McNairn, Queen’s University: ‘ “Where covert guile and artifice abound:” Making Legal Knowledge of Insolvency and Fraud in Upper Canada, 1794-1843.’

Wednesday March 28: Michael Boudreau, St Thomas University: ‘Capital Punishment in New Brunswick, 1869-1957’.

Wednesday April 4 - Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘Historicizing Criminalization of Canada’s First Nations: A Project for Legal Historians?’