2022-23 Schedule

Fall Term 2022

Wednesday September 14 - Jordyn Beaupre, McMaster University: “Localism in an International Social Purity Crusade: Establishing the Age of Consent in Late-Victorian Canada”.

Wednesday September 28 - Dan Rohde, Harvard University: "The Bank of the People, 1835-1840: Law, Money and Sovereignty in Upper Canada".

Wednesday October 12 – Bruce Ryder, Osgoode Hall Law School: “Canada’s First Anti-Discrimination Law: Ontario’s 1932 Prohibition on Unfair Discrimination in Insurance Industry”

Wednesday November 2 – Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: “The Trials and Travails of Elizabeth Campbell: A remarkable Parliamentary Divorce of the 1870s”.

Wednesday November 16 – Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: “On the edge of many empires: employers’ liability and workers’ compensation in Quebec’s industrial age, 1880-1931”.

Wednesday November 23 - Elena Caruso, University of Kent Law School: “The ‘Social Decriminalisation’ of Abortion and the Rise of the Feminist Movement in 1970s Italy".

Wednesday December 7 – Ian Radforth, University of Toronto: “Deadly Swindle: an English Dandy on Trial for Murder in Victorian Ontario.”

Winter Term 2023

Wednesday January 11 - Nicole O’Byrne, University of New Brunswick: “A Legal History of Abortion Access in New Brunswick”.

Wednesday January 25 – Stepan Wood, University of British Columbia: “Indigenous litigants and the reception of English law in Canada.”

Wednesday February 8 – Sally Hadden, Western Michigan University: “Early Colonial American Courts, Appeals and ‘Primitive’ Judicial Review.”

Wednesday February 22 - Tyler Wentzell, University of Toronto: “An Officer and a Litigant: Canadian Militia Commanders in Civil Actions Against Municipalities, 1867-1904”

Wednesday March 8 – Brad Miller, University of British Columbia: "The Internationalization of the Frederick Gerring."

Wednesday March 22 – Taylor Starr, York University: TBA

Wednesday April 5 – Genevieve Painter, Concordia University: TBA

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

2019-20 Schedule

January 15: Lara Tessaro, University of Kent: ‘Cosmetically Constitutional: A Legal Form for Material Substance, 1932-195?”.

January 29: Coel Kirkby, University of Sydney:  TBA

Wednesday February 12: Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: ‘A Legal History of Indigenous Policy in Early National Canada: The Indian Acts, 1869-1920’.

Wednesday February 26: Kris Kinsinger, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘To Entrench or Not to Entrench? Canadian Constitutionalism and the Bill of Rights Debate’

Wednesday March 11: Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘Improper Intimacies and Patriarchal Relations in Canada’s North-West Territories: Methodological, Ethical, and Interpretative Challenges in the Nineteenth-Century Criminal Court Records.’

Wednesday March 25: Elizabeth Koester, University of Toronto: ‘Eugenics in the Ontario Legislature: Dr. Forbes Godfrey and his Private Member's Bills, 1910 to 1921.’

April 1: Erika Chamberlain and Rande Kostal, Western University: TBA

2018-19 Schedule

Wednesday January 16: Nicholas Rogers, York University: 'Murder on the Middle Passage: The trial of Captain Kimber 1792.'

Wednesday January 30: Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘American Influences, Canadian Realities: The Rise and Fall of the Harvard Law Model in Canadian Legal Education’.

 Wednesday February 13: Jackson Tait, Osgoode Hall Law School: 'In Search of the Lex Mercatoria:  Canadian Legal Interpretation of Atlantic Marine Insurance Contracts, 1860 - 1924'

 Wednesday February 27: Eric Reiter, Concordia University: ‘Robinson v. CPR (1882-92):  Law, Society and Wrongful Death in Quebec’  [tentative title]

 Wednesday March 13: Mark Walters, McGill Law School: ‘The Quebec Act and the Covenant Chain: How Crown-Indigenous Treaty Relationships Shaped Imperial Constitutional Design.’

Wednesday March 27: Colin Grittner, University of British Columbia: ‘Elective Legislative Councils and the Privileges of Property across Mid-Nineteenth-Century British North America’

Wednesday April 3: Patricia McMahon, Tory’s: TBA

2017-18 Schedule

Wednesday September 13: Christopher Moore, Independent Historian: “Federalism, Free Trade within Canada, and The British North America Act, s.121”

Wednesday September 27: Special Law Society of Upper Canada Event – Lawyers and Canada at 150. This will take place at the Donald Lamont Learning Centre, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, from 3.00-6.00, with a reception to follow 6 – 7.30, in Convocation Hall at Osgoode Hall. The programme is reproduced below. The event is free but you are asked to register at  http://www.lawsocietygazette.ca/event/lawyers-and-canada-at-150/

Wednesday October 4:  Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: “Squatting and the Rights of Property in British North America”

Wednesday October 18: Ian Kyer, Independent Historian, “The Ontario Bond Scandal of 1923 Revisited”

Wednesday November 1 – Constance Backhouse, University of Ottawa: “Claire L’Heureux-Dubé.”

Wednesday November 15 – Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School, "Two Cheers for the Constitutional Act of 1791."

Wednesday November 29 - Nick Rogers, York University: " 'Strumpet hot bitch!' Defamation Suits before Bristol's Bawdy Court, 1720-1790."

2016-17 Schedule

Wednesday September 14 – Ryan Alford, Lakehead University: ‘Understanding Judicial Tolerance of Executive Branch Unilateralism: Changing Dynamics in the American Federal Judicial Appointments Process 1972-2010.’ 

Wednesday September 21 – Thomas Mohr, University College Dublin: TBA

Wednesday October 12 – Paul Craven, York University: “Just Cause – Industrial Discipline at Arbitration in the 1940s.”

Wednesday October 26 – Bradley Miller, University of British Columbia: “Dangerous Doctrine: Jurisdiction in the Northeastern Boundary Dispute.”

NOTE - Thursday October 27 – American Society for Legal History Conference in Toronto

NOTE - Thursday October 27 – 5 – 7 - Annual Osgoode Society Book Launch, and Opening Reception, American Society for Legal History Conference

Friday October 28 and Saturday October 29 – American Society for Legal History Conference in Toronto

Wednesday November 9 – Suzie Chiodo, Osgoode Hall Law School: "Class Roots: The Genesis of the Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1966-1992"

Wednesday November 23 – Constance Backhouse, University of Ottawa:  “Claire L’Heureux-Dubé: A Feminist Legal Biography”

Wednesday December 6 – Nelson Ouellet, University of Moncton: “The Origins of Workers Compensation in New Brunswick”

2015-16 Schedule

Wednesday September 23 – Brian Young, McGill University: ‘Law, landed families, and intergenerational issues in nineteenth-century Quebec.’

Wednesday October 7 – Ian Kyer: ‘The Canada Deposit Insurance Act of 1967: a Federal Response to a Constitutional Quandry.’

Wednesday October 21 –Paul Craven, York University:  ‘The 'Judges Clause': Judges as Labour Arbitrators, 1910-1970.’

Wednesday November 4 – David Fraser, University of Nottingham: ‘ “Honorary Protestants”: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997.’

Wednesday November 18 – Jacqueline Briggs, University of Toronto: ‘R. v. Jonathan: A Case in Context Study'

Wednesday December 2 – Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: ‘A History of Law in Canada, 1815-1850.’

2013-14 Schedule

Wednesday September 11 - Ian Kyer, Fasken Martineau: “The Thirty Years War: The Legal Battles that Created the TTC 1891-1921"

Wednesday September 25 - Jordan Birenbaum, University of Toronto: “Elmer A. Driedger (1913-1985): A Biographical and Intellectual Sketch of the Father of Canadian Statutory Interpretation”.

Wednesday October 9 - Nick Rogers, York University: “Parricide in Mid-Eighteenth Century England: The cases of Mary Blandy and Elizabeth Jefferies.”

Wednesday October 23 - Jeremy Milloy, Simon Fraser University: “Windsor is 'A Very, Very Bad Place to Live if You Are Black': Workplace Violence, Race, and Radical Law in the Aftermath of Charlie Brooks's Murder”

Wednesday October 30 - Osgoode Society Book launch

Wednesday November 6 - Ubaka Ogbogu, University of Alberta: “Doctors versus Councillors: A Legal History of Smallpox Vaccination in Ontario, 1882 - 1920”

Wednesday November 20 - Mary Stokes, Osgoode Hall Law School: “Municipal Corporations in Court, 1850-1880.”

December 4 - Lori Chambers, Lakehead University: “TBA”


Wednesday September 12 - Matthew Light, University of Toronto: "The Ambiguities of Influence: Russia, the Death Penalty, and Europe"

Wednesday September 26 - Nhung Tran, University of Toronto, "Mortgaging Local Culture: the Commodification of Village Performance in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Vietnam"

Wednesday October 10 - Bettina Bradbury, York University: "Troubling Inheritances: An Illegitimate Maori daughter contests her father's will in the New Zealand Courts and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council."

Wednesday October 24 - Doug Hay, York University: "Criminal Lawyers in Eighteenth Century England

Wednesday November 7 - Rob Steinfeld, University of Buffalo: "Outline for a History of the Origins of American Judicial Review"

Wednesday November 14 - Doug Harris, University of British Columbia, and Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: "History of De facto Expropriation in Canada." This is a discussion of two chapters in the forthcoming book Property on Trial: Canadian Cases in Context, to be published by the Osgoode Society. The book launch for this book, and the other Osgoode Society publications for 2012, is on Thursday November 15, 5 p.m., at Osgoode Hall.

Wednesday November 21 - Paul Craven, York University: "Called to Account: Magistrates and Public Accounts in 19th Century New Brunswick"

Wednesday December 5 - Anthony Gaughan, Drake University: "Do the Ends Justify the Means? The Trial of the Watergate Burglars."


Wednesday September 15:  Eric Reiter, Concordia University: "From Shaved Horses to Aggressive Churchwardens: The Pre-History of Personality Rights in Lower Canadian Law"

Wednesday September 29: Rosemary Gartner, University of Toronto: "The Past as Prologue:  Decarceration in California then and now"

Wednesday October 13 - Jula Hughes, University of New Brunswick: "Sir James Stephen's Code"

Wednesday October 27 - Judy Fudge, University of Victoria: "A Simple Matter of Justice? The Federal Female Employees Equal Pay Act, 1956."

Wednesday November 10 - John Weaver, McMaster University: "The Laws and International Agreements on Medical Registration in the British Empire: Refugee Doctors, 1933-1942."

Wednesday November 24 - Jim Walker, University of Waterloo: "The RDS Case"

Wednesday December 8 - Simon Stern, University of Toronto: "The Rise of Legal Analysis."


All sessions are in the Faculty Common Room, Flavelle House, starting at 6.30. All students are welcome.

Wednesday September 16 - Almos Tassonyi, Senior Economist, Government of Ontario: "Good Housekeeping: The Imposition of the Hard Budget Constraint on Municipalities in Ontario in the Great Depression."

Wednesday September 30 - Simon Stern, University of Toronto: "The Origins of the Reasonable Person"

Wednesday October 14 - Allan Greer, McGill University: "Commons and Enclosure in John Locke's America"

Wednesday October 21 - Robert Gordon, Yale University: "Do Lawyers Promote the Rule of Law?"

Wednesday November 4 - Angela Fernandez, University of Toronto: "Tapping Reeve and the Litchfield Law School: A Pushy Pedagogy and Married Women's Property Rights."

Wednesday November 18 - Bonny Ibhawoh, McMaster University: "African Appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, 1850-1960"

Wednesday December 2 - Michael Marrus, University of Toronto: "Some Measure of Justice: The Holocaust Era Restitution Campaign of the 1990s."

Wednesday January 13 - John Beattie, University of Toronto: "Detection: The Bow Street Runners at Work"

Wednesday January 27 - Lyndsay Campbell, University of Calgary: "Through American Eyes: Questions and Themes Concerning Mid-19th-Century Upper Canadian Legal Institutions"

Wednesday February 10 - Jeremy Martin and Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: "Making Legal History: Manitoba Fisheries v. The Queen"

Wednesday February 17 - Reading Week

Wednesday February 24 - David Steeves, Independent Scholar: "The Daniel Sampson case and Jury Selection in the 1930s"

Wednesday March 10 - Paul Craven, York University: "Three Ships: Poverty, Paternalism and Politics at Mid-Century."

Wednesday March 24 - Robert Steinfeld, University of Buffalo: ""The Early Anti-Majoritarian Rationale for American Judicial Review."

Wednesday April 7 - Frank Luce, Osgoode Hall Law School: "Labour Justice and 'rule by law': Brazil's Dictatorship, 1964-1985".

April 14 or 21 - Carolyn Strange, Australian National University: TBA


Tuesday September 23 -  Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School, “ ‘Make a Better Indian of Him:’ Indian Policy and Criminal Law in the North-West Territories, 1876-1903.”

Tuesday October 7 - Greg Taylor, Monash University, Melbourne, “How The Torrens System Got To Canada.”

Wednesday October 22 - Nick Rogers, York University, “"Theatres of Justice in the London [Gordon] riots of 1780."

Wednesday November 5 - Allan Greer, McGill University, “Commons and Enclosure in John Locke's America"

Tuesday November 18 - Doug Harris, University of British Columbia, “Condominium: The Rise of Property in the City".

Wednesday December 3 - Jim Phillips and Brad Miller, University of Toronto, “Colonial Politics and the Judiciary in Nova Scotia’s Age of Reform, c. 1825-1841"


September 23
Shelley Gavigan, Osgoode Hall Law School" 'Make a Better Indian of Him:' Indian Policy and Criminal Law in the North-West Territories, 1876-1903."
October 7
Greg Taylor, Monash University, Melbourne"How The Torrens System Got To Canada."
October 22
Nick Rogers, York University"Theatres of Justice in the London [Gordon] riots of 1780."
Wednesday November 5Allan Greer, McGill University"Commons and Enclosure in John Locke's America"
November 18
Doug Harris, University of British Columbia"Condominium: The Rise of Property in the City"
Wednesday December 3Jim Phillips and Brad Miller, University of Toronto"Colonial Politics and the Judiciary in Nova Scotia's Age of Reform, c. 1825-1841"


September 20 - Karen Macfarlane, York University, "The practice of trials per medietatem linguae in Eighteenth-Century England"

October 4 - Eric Tucker, Osgoode Hall Law School, "Recurring Dilemmas: The History of Shareholder and Director Liability for Workers' Wages"

October 18 - Julia Croome, Jim Phillips, and Christian Vernon, University of Toronto, "Reformers, Tories, Judges (and Coal Miners): The Judiciary in Nova Scotia Politics, 1828-1842"

November 1 - Eric Adams, University of Toronto, "Fighting for Freedom: Canadian Constitutional Thought During the Second World War"

November 15 - John McLaren, University of Victoria, "Men of Principle or Ratbags? Judicial
Independence and Disciplining of Colonial Judges in the 19th Century British Empire" - or " A Funny Way to Run an Empire!

November 22 - Kelly De Luca, Columbia University

December 6 - Myra Tawfik, University of Windsor, "Canadian Copyright Law in the Nineteenth Century"


Thursday September 16Bob Gordon,
Yale University
"The Legal Profession and the Rule of Law: Past and Present"
Wednesday September 22Randy McGowen,
University of Oregon
"Making Examples and the Crisis of Punishment in mid-Eighteenth Century England"
Wednesday October 13Paul Finkelman,
University of Tulsa
"The Law, Slavery and Free Blacks in the Antebellum Mid-West"
Wednesday November 10James Muir,
York University
"Credit and Consumerism in Halifax in the 1750s"
Wednesday November 24Chris Tomlins,
American Bar Foundation
Wednesday December 1Douglas Hay,
York University
"Workers, Employers, and English Law in Scottish Courts in the 18th and 19th Centuries"


January 16th
6.30 p.m.
Mark Fortier,
University of Winnipeg
"Early Modern Equity"
January 30th
6.30 p.m.
Bob Sharpe,
Ontario Court of Appeal
Kent Roach,
University of Toronto
"The Early Years: Brian Dickson at the Supreme Court, 1973-1975"
February 13th
7.00 p.m.
In Solarium (Seminar Room 2), Falconer Hall
Jim Phillips,
University of Toronto
"The Early History of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court"
Joint session with the Colonial History Group
February 27th
6.30  p.m.
Joe Kary,
Kary and Kwan
"Mingled Roots: The English and French Origins of Quebec Libel Law"
March 13th
7.00 p.m.
David Yarrow,
Osgoode Hall Law School
"The Conception of Aboriginal Title in the Royal Proclamation of 1763"
Joint session with the Colonial History Group
March 27th
6.30 p.m.
Dick Risk,
University of Toronto
"Law Teachers in the 1930s: 'When the World Was Turned Upside Down.'"
April 3rd
6.30 p.m.
Catharine Wilson,
University of Guelph