The Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop is an informal evening seminar. Participants are graduate students and faculty in law and history from U of T, York, McMaster and other institutions, as well as law students. All law students with an interest in legal history are welcome. Students may also take the workshop for credit – see Course List.

If you would like to be put on the mailing list and to receive the papers, please send an email to

2021-22 Schedule

Fall Term 2021

Wednesday September 15 – Jeff McNairn, Queen’s University, ‘Inviolate and Subservient to the Public Welfare: Private Property and Expropriation for Public Use in Upper Canada’

Wednesday September 29 – Mélanie Méthot, University of Alberta: ‘How “l'Affaire Delpit” Failed to Become a Cause Célèbre.’

Wednesday October 13 - Chris Monaghan, University of Worcester, UK: 'Impeachment Reimagined: Drawing upon history to empower the UK House of Commons'.

Wednesday October 27 – Lara Tessaro, University of Kent: ‘Constitutionally Cosmetic: Federalism and Lipstick Perform an Ontological Turn in Canadian  Food and Drugs Law, 1945-47’.

Wednesday November 10 – Alex Martinborough, Queen’s University: ‘Writing Empire and Making Nations: Law, Constitutions and History-Writing in British Settler Colonies, 1860-1935.’ 

Wednesday November 24 - Daniel Murchison, York University: ‘Alice Payette's Piano and Fur Coat: Views of Métis Life from the Manitoba Surrogate Court, 1870 to 1930".

Wednesday December 1 – Wayne Sumner, University of Toronto: ‘Cognitive Deficiency and the Insanity Defence: The Case of Mike Hack.’.

Winter Term 2022

Wednesday, January 12 - Rob Konduros, Hilborn and Konduros: ‘British Ideas of Federalism and the Life of A.V. Dicey as a Metaphor for Imperialism.’ 

Wednesday, January 26 - Heidi Bohaker, University of Toronto: TBA

Wednesday, February 9 – Bill Wicken, York University: 'R. v. Hill and R v. Carpenter, Same Jury, Same Judge, Same Verdict, Different Sentence: Manslaughter and Race in Brant County, Ontario, May 1896.' 

Wednesday, February 23:  Richard Manning, Independent Scholar: ‘Undercover Investigation, Prohibition, and "Disreputable" Detectives in 19th-Century Canada’. Note: This is during the U of T law school reading week.

Wednesday, March 9 – Eghosa Ekhator, University of Derby, UK: ‘Foreign Relations in Precolonial Africa: A Case Study of Portuguese-Benin Kingdom Diplomatic Interactions.’

Wednesday, March 23 – Opeyemi Rabiat Akanda, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘Decolonization by Codification: The Making of the 1958 Penal Code in Late Colonial Nigeria.’

Wednesday, April 6 – Jacqueline Briggs, University of Toronto: TBA

Past Speakers and Archives

Past speakers have included:

  • David Sugarman, University of Lancaster, on the Pinochet case
  • Bob Gordon,  Yale University, on Moral and Economic Regulation
  • John Beattie, University of Toronto, on the Bow Street Runners
  • Mark Walters, Queen's, on early conceptions of aboriginal title
  • Karen Pearlston, Osgoode Hall Law School, on "Coverture and the Feme Sole Trader in England"
  • John Weaver, McMaster University, on 'Steyntje and Her Children: A Slave’s Pursuit of Freedom in the Cape Town Courts and before the Privy Council"