image of the book cover of Canada’s Legal Pasts

Canada’s Legal Pasts: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Edited by Lyndsay Campbell, , Ted McCoy, , and Mélanie Méthot

$39.99 PB / $79.99 HC (S)

368 pages, 11 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

Hardback: 978-1-77385-151-8

Hardback: 1-77385-116-0

Paperback: 978-1-77385-116-7

Epub: 978-1-77385-119-8

May 2020

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An introduction to Canadian legal history featuring new approaches to legal scholarship. Essential reading for all those interested in Canadian legal methodologies, especially new and beginning scholars.

Canada’s Legal Pasts presents new essays on a range of topics and episodes in Canadian legal history, provides an introduction to legal methodologies, shows researchers new to the field how to locate and use a variety of sources, and includes a combined bibliography arranged to demonstrate best practices in gathering and listing primary sources. It is an essential welcome for scholars who wish to learn about Canada’s legal pasts—and why we study them.

Telling new stories—about a fishing vessel that became the subject of an extraordinarily long diplomatic dispute, young Northwest Mounted Police constables subject to an odd mixture of police discipline and criminal procedure, and more—this book presents the vibrant evolution of Canada’s legal tradition. Explorations of primary sources, including provincial archival records that suggest how Quebec courts have been used in interfamilial conflict, newspaper records that disclose the details of bigamy cases, and penitentiary records that reveal the details of the lives and legal entanglements of Canada’s most marginalized people, show the many different ways of researching and understanding legal history.

This is Canadian legal history as you’ve never seen it before. Canada’s Legal Pasts dives into new topics in Canada’s fascinating history and presents practical approaches to legal scholarship, bringing together established and emerging scholars in collection essential for researchers at all levels.

About the Editors:

Lyndsay Campbell is an associate professor at the University of Calgary, cross-appointed between the Faculty of Law and the Department of History. She is the co-editor of Freedom’s Conditions in the U.S.-Canada Borderlands in the Age of Emancipation.

Ted McCoy is an assistant professor in Sociology at the University of Calgary. He is the author of Hard Time: Reforming the Penitentiary in Nineteenth-Century Canada and Four Unruly Women: Stories of Incarceration and Resistance from Canada’s Most Notorious Prison.

Mélanie Méthot is an associate professor of History at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus and the recipient of a SSHRC Grant for her research on bigamy in Canada. She is the founder of the Augustana Conference on Undergraduate Research and Innovative Teaching.

With Contributions By: Nick Austin, Dominique Clément, Angela Fernandez, Jean-Philippe Garneau, Shelley A.M. Gavigan, Alexandra Havrylyshyn, Louis A. Knafla, Catharine MacMillan, Eric A. Reiter, and Christopher Shorey

A hardcover edition of this title is available exclusively to US and International customers

Praise for Canada’s Legal Pasts:

This work will appeal to a broad range of scholars working at the intersections of law and history. Featuring both established scholars and newer voices in the field, this volume introduces the ‘how’ of legal history and illustrates the deepening political commitment of scholars who seek to challenge the structures of inequality in Canadian society by interrogating legal history as an avenue toward change.

—Philip Girard, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Table of Contents

Foreword: A Student’s Take on Canada’s Legal Pasts
Nick Austin

Introduction: Canada’s Legal Pasts: Looking Forward, Looking Back
Ted McCoy, Lyndsay Campbell, Mélanie Méthot

Part I: Illuminating Cases

Family Defamation in Quebec: The View from the Archives
Eric H. Reiter

Writing Penitentiary History
Ted McCoy

Analyzing Bigamy Cases without Archival Records: It Is Possible
Mélanie Méthot

Trial Pamphlets and Newspaper Accounts
Lyndsay Campbell

The Last Voyage of the Frederick Gerring, Jr
Christopher Shorey

The Textbook Edition of Kent’s Commentaries Used in the Gerring
Angela Fernandez

Part II: Exploring Systems

Empire’s Law: Archives and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
Catharine MacMillan

Practising Law in the “Lawyerless” Colony of New France
Alexandra Havrylyshyn

Poursuivre son mari en justice au Bas-Canada: femmes mariées et coutume de Paris devant la cour du Banc du roi (1795-1830)
Jean-Philippe Garneau

Getting Their Man: The NWMP as Accused in the Territorial Criminal Court in the Canadian North-West, 1876-1905
Shelley A.M. Gavigan

Part III: Writing Legal History: Past, Present and Future

Sex Discrimination in Law: From Equal Citizenship to Human Rights Law
Dominique Clément

Legal-Historical Writing for the Canadian Prairies: Past, Present, Future
Louis A. Knafla

Primary source bibliography
Secondary source bibliography