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.

MEMBERS’ BOOK 2020

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.

OPTIONAL EXTRA 2020

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.

 

Biographies

  • Canadian Maverick: The Life of Ivan C. Rand

    by William Kaplan. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2009. Ivan Rand had a long, varied and remarkable career. He is best known for his Supreme Court of Canada judgments in a series of cases emanating from Quebec in the 1950s and dealing with civil rights, cases which established limits on the government’s ability to… 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
  • Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life

    by Philip Girard, Professor of Law, History & Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University, 2005. Published with the University of Toronto Press. In any account of Canadian law in the 20th century, Bora Laskin looms large. This biography explores in vivid detail the life and times of a restless man on a mission. In his first career,… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Searching for Justice: An Autobiography

    by Fred Kaufman, Quebec Court of Appeal, retired. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2005. As one reviewer wrote, this is a ‘a tale well told of a remarkable life well lived.’ Born into a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna in the mid-twenties, Kaufman managed to leave his native city on one of the last… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Aggressive in Pursuit: The Life of Justice Emmett Hall

    by Frederick Vaughan, formerly of the Political Science Department, University of Guelph. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2004. In 1963 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker elevated Chief Justice Hall of Saskatchewan to the Supreme Court of Canada. This judicial biography focuses on Hall’s career as defence lawyer, and civil litigator, his position as a civil… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey

    by Robert Sharpe, Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Professor Kent Roach, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2003. After coming of age during the Depression on the Prairies, being severely wounded in World War II, and after a career as a successful and prosperous… 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
  • Judging Bertha Wilson: Law As Large As Life

    by Ellen Anderson, Lawyer, Barrie, Ontario. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2001. Bertha Wilson is the first woman to be appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. She is the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada at that critical moment when the Charter was entrenched. Nevertheless, Bertha Wilson has… 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