Table of contents


Foreword: A Student's Take on Canada's Legal Pasts
Nick AustinIntroduction: Canada's Legal Pasts: Looking Forward, Looking BackTed McCoy, Lyndsay Campbell, Mélanie Méthot

Part I: Illuminating Cases

Family Defamation in Quebec: The View from the Archives
Eric H. Reiter

Writing Penitentiary History
Ted McCoy

Analyzing Bigamy Cases without Archival Records: It Is Possible
Mélanie Méthot

Trial Pamphlets and Newspaper Accounts
Lyndsay Campbell

The Last Voyage of the Frederick Gerring, Jr
Christopher Shorey

The Textbook Edition of Kent's Commentaries Used in the Gerring
Angela Fernandez

Part II: Exploring Systems

Empire's Law: Archives and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
Catharine MacMillan

Practising Law in the "Lawyerless" Colony of New France
Alexandra Havrylyshyn

Poursuivre son mari en justice au Bas-Canada: femmes mariées et coutume de Paris devant la cour du Banc du roi (1795-1830)
Jean-Philippe Garneau

Getting Their Man: The NWMP as Accused in the Territorial Criminal Court in the Canadian North-West, 1876-1905
Shelley A. M. Gavigan

Part III: Writing Legal History: Past, Present and Future

Sex Discrimination in Law: From Equal Citizenship to Human Rights Law
Dominique Clément

Legal-Historical Writing for the Canadian Prairies: Past, Present, Future
Louis A. Knafla

Primary source bibliography
Secondary source bibliography


Canada’s Legal Pasts explores new topics in Canada’s fascinating legal history and presents practical approaches to historical scholarship on the workings of law and legality. Drawing on real-world examples and spanning centuries, this book illuminates the vibrant evolution of Canada’s legal tradition. Explorations of primary sources—including provincial archives, newspaper records, and penitentiary records—show many different ways of researching and understanding legal history. This book is essential for anyone who wishes to learn about Canada’s legal past—and why we study it.