The Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop group is an informal evening seminar that meets on alternate Wednesdays between September and April to discuss a wide variety of topics in legal history, Canadian and international. Participants are graduate students and faculty in law and history from U of T, York, McMaster and other institutions, as well as law students and members of the profession.

Anybody interested in legal history is welcome to attend. If you would like to be put on our list to receive the papers and other notifications by e-mail, please notify

The workshop is held on Wednesday evenings, at 6.30, at the University of Toronto Law School, rooms and locations to be determined and posted here.

Osgoode Society Workshop – Past Years 2011-2018



All Sessions begin at 6.30. All Sessions except for October 15 in Room J230, Jackman Hall, University of Toronto

Wednesday September 11: Nancy Wright, University of Victoria: “The Laphroaig Leasehold:  Popular Interpretations of Feudal Tenures.”

Wednesday September 25: Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: ‘The Canadian Court System, 1867-1914’

Tuesday October 15:  Note the Tuesday. Donal Coffey, Max Planck Institute: ‘Newfoundland and Dominion Status.’ Held in Room 223, Flavelle House

Wednesday October 30: Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: ‘The Contrasting Fates of French-Canadian and Indigenous Constitutionalism: British North America, 1763-1867.’

Wednesday November 6: Eric Adams, University of Alberta: ‘Constitutional Wrongs: A Legal History of Japanese Canadians’

Wednesday November 13: Joseph Kary, Kary and Kwan: Sonderkommando in Canada: Montreal’s first World War II War Crimes Trial, 1951-1956

Wednesday November 27: Patricia McMahon, Tory’s: ‘Radioactive: The Life and Lies of Boris Pregel’




All Sessions begin at 6.30. Seminar Room FA3, Falconer Hall, Faculty of Law

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’

Wednesday March 13: Mark Walters, McGill Law School: ‘The Covenant Chain and Criminal Justice in Canada, 1760-1800.’

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


Professor Lori Chambers, Lakehead University

Canadian legal history has emerged as a cutting-edge field within the study of Canada's past, and Canadian legal historians are also celebrated participants in international debates about the historical role of law as both a mechanism of control and a source of social challenge. The Osgoode Society for Legal History has been essential in the national and international success of Canadian legal history and historians. The Osgoode Society not only publishes a wide range of books, but also supports students and research and facilitates communication between legal historians. The legal history workshop is a very important part of that communication. Legal historians outside of Canada frequently comment on the Osgoode Society, and its work in Canada, with considerable (and justifiable) envy. The importance of the Osgoode Society cannot be overstated.