The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History

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    Book Signing, Osgoode Society Book Launch, October 2013
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    Our collection on display, Book Launch, October 2013
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    Osgoode Society Book Launch, Convocation Hall, October 2013
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    Authors Charlotte Gray and Roy McMurtry hard at work, Book Launch 2013
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    "I shall always be gratified that I had the opportunity to create the Osgoode Society in 1979 when I was the Attorney-General for Ontario..." - R. Roy McMurtry -
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    The Osgoode Society Board in 1984. Seated from the left: Archie Campbell, Brendan O'Brien, R. Roy McMurtry, and Laura Legge (then Treasurer of the Law Society)
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    Two-time Osgoode Society author Professor Barrignton Walker at the Society's 30th Anniversary Reception, 2009
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    Marilyn MacFarlane, long time administrator of the Osgoode Society, honoured at the Society’s 30th Anniversary Dinner, 2009
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    R. Roy McMurtry, Derry Millar, then Treasurer of the Law Society, and Mrs Millar, at the reception to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Society, 2009
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    I have been a member of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History since my second year at Osgoode Hall Law School, where I was first introduced to the organization by the late Professor Graham Parker. Since then I have been enriched by this organization and its excellent and diverse legal historical publications. Overall, I find the Osgoode Society to be one of the most consistantly relevant organizations to the Canadian Legal Profession. - The Honourable Justice Michael H. Tulloch Court of Appeal for Ontario, Director of the Osgoode Society
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    One of our 2012 books: The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays.
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    One of our 2012 books: Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada.
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    One of our 2012 books: Hunger, Horses and Government Men:Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains.
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    One of our 2012 books: Property on Trial: Canadian Cases in Context.
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    One of our 2013 books: Memoirs and Reflections.
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    One of our 2013 books: Essays in the History of Canada Law, Volume XI: Quebec and the Canadas.
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    One of our 2013 books: Lawyers, Families, and Businesses: The Shaping of a Bay Street Law Firm, Faskens 1863-1963.
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    One of our 2013 books: The Massey Murder: A Maid, her Master, and the Trial that Shocked a Nation



We invite interested members of the public, scholars and members of the legal community to join us in the exploration of Canada’s legal history. In the past year we have completely restructured our website to make it a resource for anybody interested in Canadian legal history. You will find here not only much more information than before about our publications and our authors, but also news of our other activities and some new features. In the coming months we will also be launching the section on Legal History Resources.

To join the Osgoode Society click here

To access the Osgoode Society blog click here

To listen to Osgoode Society President R. Roy McMurtry speak on the Osgoode Society and much else click here.

2014 Publications

News & Upcoming Events

Recent Publications

  • The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal, 1792-2013, by Christopher Moore
  • Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953-84, by Dominique Clément
  • Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1785-1867, by Paul Craven
  • Ruin and Redemption: The Struggle for a Canadian Bankruptcy Law, 1867-1919, by Thomas Telfer

Notable Dates

  • Tuesday November 04 at 5 p.m. - Annual Book Launch, Convocation Hall, Osgoode Hall


  • October 2014 - The 2014 Toronto Book Award has been awarded to Charlotte Gray, for The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country, published by the Osgoode Society in 2013. We congratulate Charlotte.
  • April 2014 - The Australian and New Zealand Legal History Society has issued a 'call for papers' for its 2014 conference on "Law's Empire or Empire's Law?: Legal Discourses of Colonies and Commonwealths." The conference will be held at the School of Law at the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, December 10-13, 2014. More details can be found on the conference website. Inquiries or paper proposals - including a title, brief abstract and brief biography - should be sent to
  • February 2014 - Osgoode Society Associate Editor Professor Philip Girard has been selected to give the plenary address at the annual conference of the American Society for Legal History, in Denver, November 2014.  Professor Girard is the first scholar to give the plenary address on a Canadian topic.
  • February 2014 - Osgoode Society Editor-in-Chief Jim Phillips has been awarded the David Walter Mundell Medal for 2013. The Mundell Medal is awarded by the Ministry of the Attorney-General of the Province of Ontario, and recognises "those that have made a distinguished contribution to law and letters."
  • February 2014 - The latest edition of the Law and History Review, Volume 32, No 1, the leading journal in the field, contains an article by Ed Cavanagh, a graduate student at the University of Ottawa and co-winner of the Osgoode Society’s McMurtry Fellowship for 2103-2014. It is entitled: “Possession and Dispossession in Corporate New France, 1600–1663: Debunking a “Juridical History” and Revisiting Terra Nullius.” We are delighted that once again the McMurtry Fellowship is being used to such good effect.
  • January 2014 - Charlotte Gray's The Massey Murder: A Maid, her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Nation, published by the Osgoode Society in 2013,  is one of 5 books nominated for the RBC Taylor Prize for 2014, awarded for the best non-fiction book of the year.
  • November 2013 - Ontario Legislature Speaker Dave Levac recently announced the short list for the 2013 Speakers' Book Award. It includes our members' book for 2013, R. Roy McMurtry, Memoirs and Reflections. The winning entry will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Ontario Legislative Building on March 5, 2014.
  • News Archive


Osgoode Society
Osgoode Hall, Toronto
Ontario, M5H 2N6, Canada

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T: + 416.947.3321
F: + 416.947.3447