Monday, July 9, 2012

Girard on the State of Canadian Legal History, Circa 2007

Philip Girard, Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law, has recently posted Who's Afraid of Canadian Legal History? an article that first appeared in University of Toronto Law Review 57 (2007): 727-53.  Here is the abstract:
The ‘new legal history’ has flourished in Canada over the last three decades, ever since Andre Morel and John Brierley began their pioneering work in the history of Quebec law in the 1960s and R.C.B. Risk published his ‘Prospectus for the Study of Canadian Legal History’ in 1973. A recent survey of the field describes this body of scholarship as "striking in its diversity in substance, theoretical context and methodology, ...a far cry from the concerns of traditional English history focused primarily, as it was, on the evolution of the common law, the Royal courts, and the cast of characters who administered them and made decisions or practiced in them... [T]he focus of contemporary legal historical scholarship in Canada...extend[s] well beyond the courts and their denizens to law and legal culture in all its complexity."

Legal history in Canada is a thriving branch of ‘law and society' scholarship, one that has the power to enrich contemporary legal scholarship and legal education, to inform research in Canadian studies, and to provide a new dimension to the writing of Canadian history.