Prof. Jim Phillips

Jackman Law Building
Room J434
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5   

Tel.: 416-978-4223

Jim Phillips (M.A. Edinburgh, Ph.D. (History) and LL.B. Dalhousie) is Professor in the Faculty of Law and and is cross-appointed to the Department of History and the Centre for Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies. He was a law clerk to Madam Justice Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada prior to joining the University, and was Associate Dean of the Faculty of Law 1994-1997. He teaches property and legal history, and was the winner of the Mewett Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001. In 1991, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2015 and 2016 he was elected by the graduating class to speak at their post-convocation reception.

His research is principally in legal history, and he has coedited four volumes in the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History series of Essays in the History of Canadian Law. His most recent book is A History of Law In Canada: Volume 1, Beginnings to 1866, with Philip Girard and Blake Brown. Volume 2, Law for a New Dominion, 1867-1914, will be published in 2022. He was Director of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto 2003-2005. In 2013 he was awarded the David Mundell Medal by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General for excellence in legal writing. He is also active in debates on the future of public and accessible legal education at the University of Toronto.

M.A. - University of Edinburgh (1976)
Ph.D. - History, Dalhousie University (1983)
LL.B. - Dalhousie University (1987)
Academic appointments
Also appointed to Department of History and Centre of Criminology
Other service
Editor-in-Chief, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
Selected publications

A History of Law In Canada: Volume 1, Beginnings to 1866 (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press,  2018), with Philip Girard and Blake Brown

"Judicial Independence in British North America, 1825-1867: Constitutional Principles, Colonial Finances, and the Perils of Democracy," Law and History Review, Vol 34 , No 32016, pp. 689-743

“Manitoba Fisheries v. The Queen: The Origins of Canada’s De Facto Expropriation Doctrine,” in B. Ziff,  E. Tucker, and J. Muir, eds., Canadian Property Law Stories (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and Irwin Law, 2012) (with Jeremy Martin), pp. 257 – 299

“Too Many Courts and Too Much Law: The Politics of Judicial Reform in Nova Scotia, 1830-1841,” in Law and History Review, vol 30, No 1, February 2012 (with Bradley Miller), pp. 89-133

“Why Legal History Matters,” Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, Vol. 41, 2010,  pp. 293 - 316

Murdering Holiness: The Trials of Franz Creffield and George Mitchell (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003) - with Rosemary Gartner

“Origins to Confederation: The Supreme Court, 1754-1867,"  in P. Girard, J. Phillips, and J.B. Cahill, eds., The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press,  2004), pp. 53 - 139 - (with J. Barry Cahill)

Research areas
Legal History
Property Law