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.

 

Judges

  • 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 »

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  • Chief Justice W.R. Jackett: By the Law of the Land

    by Richard W. Pound. Published with McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999. When Richard Pound told us he was working on a biography of Wilbur Jackett, former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, and asked us to consider publication, we were pleased and somewhat sceptical. We had recently published Ian Bushnell’s history of the Federal Court… Read more »

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  • Fulfilment: Memoirs of a Criminal Court Judge

    by David Vanek. Published with Dundurn Press, 1999. We are very grateful to Judge David Vanek for offering us the opportunity to publish his memoirs. In Ontario provincial court judges are the workhorses of the judiciary, carrying out a huge range of tasks and bearing an enormous burden. Most students of Canadian legal history are familiar… Read more »

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  • Bad Judgment: The Case of Mr. Justice Leo A. Landreville

    by William Kaplan. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1996. Out of Print. Bad Judgment is a quintessential fall-from-grace story about a man from humble beginnings who rose to the top of the legal profession in Canada, only to be removed from the bench because of his bad judgment, the intolerant attitudes of the… Read more »

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  • Canadian State Trials, Volume I: Law, Politics, and Security Measures, 1608-1837

    edited by F. Murray Greenwood, Emeritus Professor of History, University of British Columbia and Barry Wright, Professor, Department of Law, Carleton University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1996. State trials reveal much about a nation’s insecurities and shed light on important themes in political, constitutional, and legal history. In Canada, perceived and real threats… Read more »

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  • Northern Justice: The Memoirs Of Mr. Justice William G. Morrow

    edited by Will Morrow. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1995. One of the first Canadians to champion the legal and cultural cause of the North’s indigenous peoples, William George Morrow, the senior partner in an eminent Edmonton law firm, seized the opportunity to go to the North in 1960, and act as a volunteer… Read more »

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  • A Passion for Justice: The Legacy of James Chalmers McRuer

    by Patrick Boyer. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1994. Patrick Boyer’s portrait of James Chalmers McRuer (1890-1985) reveals the complexities of one of Canada’s outstanding jurists, and shows the character and personal dilemmas of the man who was arguably Canada’s greatest law reformer. McRuer’s career of more than fifty years included periods as a… Read more »

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  • Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume III: Nova Scotia

    edited by Jim Phillips, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and Philip Girard, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1990. An introduction by the editors is followed by ten essays grouped into four main areas of study. The first is the legal system as a whole: essays in this section discuss… Read more »

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  • Duff: A Life in the Law

    by David Williams. Published with the University of British Columbia Press, 1984. Out of Print. Sir Lyman Duff is often described as Canada’s most distinguished jurist. His career encompassed forty years in high judicial office, the last eleven as Chief Justice of Canada. More than any other individual, he shaped the Supreme Court and its decisions… Read more »

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  • Sir John Beverley Robinson: Bone and Sinew of the Compact

    by Patrick Brode, Legal Counsel, City of Windsor. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1984. It is appropriate that Patrick Brode’s biography of Sir John Beverley Robinson was published in the year that marked the 200th anniversary of the coming of the loyalists to British North America. Robinson, as Patrick Brode demonstrates, embodied much… Read more »

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