Osgoode Society Books

Our books are listed here chronologically by date of publication. Use the Search function to the right to find a particular book, or author.

Book Sale – December 11-31, 2020

Selected books are on sale for $10 ($5 for members) if picking up from Osgoode Hall or $13 ($8 for members) if shipping is required. You’ll find purchase links on the individual book pages.


Our members’ book for 2020 is Doodem and Council Fire: Anishinabe Governance through Alliance, by Heidi Bohaker, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto and published by the University of Toronto Press. While Canada’s constitution protects Indigenous treaty rights, Canadians know much less about the legal traditions of Indigenous nations and the ways in which these different traditions informed treaties made between Indigenous peoples and the Crown. This volume is a ground-breaking exploration of one Indigenous legal tradition. In it, the author explains how a uniquely Anishinaabe category of kinship, the doodem, structured governance and law as practiced in formal councils (referred to metaphorically as fires) through the practice of alliance formation.  Such alliances created relationships of interdependence, which were renewed through the exchange of gifts in council. The records of early Canadian treaties, Bohaker argues, are to be found in the records of gifts exchanged to create these alliances between council fires; the Anishinaabe treated the French, and later the British, as if their governments were council fires also.  In return, colonial officials adhered to Indigenous law when they entered into treaties. Bohaker weaves together a voluminous amount of research from both Anishinaabe and European sources, including archival documents and material culture from institutions in Canada, Britain and France, to describe the continuities and changes in Anishinaabe governance and law until settler colonial law (the Indian Act) replaced traditional governance with elected band councils.


In 2020 we are also publishing  The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History, by Professor Carolyn Strange of the Australian National University in Canberra.  This major study of the operation of the death penalty focusses on the disposition by executive review of all cases between Confederation and the abolition of the death penalty in which the offender not only committed murder but did so at the same time as he (or she) also committed a serious sexual offence. Professor Strange is able to show that such offenders fared much less well in the commutation process than other people convicted of murder and sentenced to death. As importantly, she divides the overall narrative into six periods, showing that within each period political, administrative and public consideration of the cases were conducted against a background of other concerns, ranging from the ‘danger’ of immigrants to the rise of psychiatric concern with such offenders to the abolition movement of the 1960s.


The Legal Profession (incl. Legal Education)

  • The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays

    edited by Barrington Walker, Professor, Department of History, Queens University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2012. One of the central themes of the new legal history of the past two decades has been exploration of the law’s role in shaping the lives and experiences of historically marginalised groups in our society. The Osgoode… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax

    by Philip Girard, Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. Published with University of Toronto Press, 2011. Well known to Osgoode Society readers as the author of an award winning biography of Bora Laskin, Philip Girard’s  Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax is much more than a biography of… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume X: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver

    edited by Jim Phillips, Professor of Law, University of Toronto, R.Roy McMurtry, President of the Osgoode Society, and John Saywell, Professor of History Emeritus, York University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2008. This collection of Canadian legal history essays honours Professor Peter Oliver, who led the Osgoode Society as editor-in-chief from its establishment… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • My Life in Crime and other Academic Adventures

    by Martin Friedland, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2007. Professor Martin Friedland has been involved in many areas of legal research and law reform in his career, and the Osgoode Society is very pleased to be able to publish his account of that involvement, especially as… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • R.C.B. Risk, A History of Canadian Legal Thought: Collected Essays

    edited by G.Blaine Baker, Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, and Jim Phillips, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2006. Frank Scott, Bora Laskin, W.P.M. Kennedy, John Wills and Edward Blake are among the better known figures whose thinking and writing about law are featured in this collection…. Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Osgoode Hall: An Illustrated History

    by John Honsberger. Published with Dundurn Press, 2004. Published to celebrate our 25th anniversary John Honsberger, a Toronto lawyer, editor and author, has produced a richly illustrated book with more than 50 coloured and 150 black and white photographs, describes the fascinating history of one of Canada’s most historic public buildings. The Hall, intended to be… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • John J. Robinette, Peerless Mentor: An Appreciation

    by George D. Finlayson, formerly of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Published with Dundurn Press, 2003. John Robinette is generally acknowledged to have been the foremost counsel of his era and was, perhaps, Canada’s greatest advocate of all time. Comfortable before any court or tribunal at any level and regardless of issue, he combined… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen

    by Laurel Sefton Macdowell, Professor of History, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2001. J.L. Cohen, one of the first specialists in labour law and an architect of the Canadian industrial relations system, was a formidable advocate in the 1930s and 1940s on behalf of working people. Cohen is best described as… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • ‘The Thousandth Man’: A Biography of James McGregor Stewart

    by Barry Cahill, Independent Scholar. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2000. Barry Cahill’s study of the life of James McGregor Stewart adds an exciting new dimension to Canadian legal biography. James McGregor Stewart (1889-1955) was a towering figure in Canada’s inter-war legal and business establishments. The foremost Canadian corporation lawyer of his day, head… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume VIII: In Honour of R.C.B. Risk

    edited by G. Blaine Baker & Jim Phillips. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1999. Collections of essays are usually organised around a particular theme. This book, which represents Canadian legal historians’ tribute to Professor Dick Risk, is, at first glance, something of an exception to that practice. The essays here cover subjects which range… Read more »

    Continue reading