Fellowships and Awards

John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History

The Saywell Prize is given bi-annually to the best new book in Canadian legal history, broadly defined, that makes an important contribution to an understanding of the constitution and/or federalism. In exceptional circumstances, the jury could also consider a seminal article or series of articles, some of the latter not written in the two-year period, to satisfy the objectives of the award.

Jack Saywell died in April 2011, still working on the history of federalism. His family has requested that any donations be made to the Saywell Prize or another charity of the donor’s choice. Those wishing to donate to the prize may do by sending a cheque to The Osgoode Society, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto M5H 2N6. Cheques should be made payable to the Society and marked as contributions to the Saywell Prize. For further information please contact the Society at osgoodesociety@lsuc.on.ca

The Saywell Prize will not be awarded in 2017, because of a lack of suitable submissions. It will next be awarded in 2018, for a book published in 2015, 2016, or 2017. Publishers or others who wish to nominate a book for the Saywell Prize in 2018 should send three copies of the book to: The Osgoode Society, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, M5H 2N6. The deadline for nominations for 2018 is April 30, 2018.

Previous Winners of the Saywell Prize

  • 2015 – Hakeem Yusuf, Reader in Law, Strathclyde University:
    Colonial and Post-Colonial Constitutionalism in the Commonwealth: Peace, Order and Good Government (Routledge, 2014)
  • 2013 – Michael S. Cross, Professor Emeritus of History at Dalhousie University, The Morning Star of Memory:
    A Biography of Robert Baldwin

    (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • 2011 – Douglas Harris, Professor, University of British Columbia Law School, Landing Native Fisheries:
    Indian Reserves and Fishing Rights in British Columbia, 1849-1925

    (University of British Columbia Press, 2009).
  • 2009 – Janet Ajzenstat, Professor Emerita at McMaster University, The Canadian Founding: John Locke and Parliament
    (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007).
Professor Doug Harris

Professor Doug Harris

Saywell Prize Recipient, 2011

R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History

The R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History was created in 2007, on the occasion of the retirement as Chief Justice of Ontario of the Hon. R. Roy McMurtry. It honours the contribution to Canadian legal history of Roy McMurtry, formerly both Attorney-General and Chief Justice of Ontario, founder of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and for many years the Society’s President.

The fellowship was established by Chief Justice McMurtry’s friends and colleagues, and endowed by private donations and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

The fellowship is to support graduate (preferably doctoral) students or those with a recently completed doctorate, to conduct research in Canadian legal history, for one year. Scholars working on any topic in the field of Canadian legal history are eligible. Applicants should be in a graduate programme at an Ontario University or, if they have a completed doctorate, be affiliated with an Ontario University.

The fellowship may be held concurrently with other awards for graduate study. Eligibility is not limited to history and law programmes; persons in cognate disciplines such as criminology or political science may apply, provided the subject of the research they will conduct as a McMurtry fellow is Canadian legal history. The selection committee may take financial need into consideration. Applications will be assessed by a committee appointed by the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.

Those interested in the 2017 fellowship should apply by sending a full c.v. and a statement of the research they would conduct as a McMurtry fellow to Amanda Campbell, McMurtry Fellowship Selection Committee, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, M5H 2N6, or osgoodesociety@lsuc.on.ca. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2017.

For more information contact the Society.

Previous Winners of the McMurtry Fellowship

  •  2017 – Dennis Molinaro ,  PhD from the University of Toronto, for study of the law of Canadian security measures and proceedings
  • 2016 – Jacqueline Briggs, a doctoral student in Criminology at the University of Toronto, for work on aboriginal peoples and criminal justice.
  • 2015 – Elizabeth Koester, a doctoral student in history at the University of Toronto, for work on eugenics in twentieth century Ontario.
  • 2014 – Peter Price, completing a doctorate in history at Queen’s University, and working on a post-doctoral project on lawyers and legal and constitutional thought in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Canada
  • 2013 – Edward Cavanagh, a PhD student at the University of Ottawa, is working on the history of chartered companies in Canada, with specific reference to their role in land settlement and the development of doctrines related to aboriginal dispossession.
  • 2013 – Joseph Dunlop, who recently obtained his PhD from oxford, will be a fellow and Emanuel College, University of Toronto, working on the role played by Catholic politicians in the various law reforms related to sexuality of the 1960s and 1970s.
  • 2012 – Patrick Connor, a post-doctoral student in history at York University, for work on a history of crime and punishment in Upper Canada.
  • 2011 – Daniel Rueck, a research associate at the University of Western Ontario, for his post-doctoral work on land use and allocation on Mohwak reserves.
  • 2010 – Claire Mumme, a doctoral student in legal history at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, for a project on The History of the Contract of Employment in Twentieth Century Canada.
  • 2010 – Stacey Alexopoulos, a doctoral student in the Department of History, York University, who is writing a thesis on the development of property rules governing housing on aboriginal reserves since 1951.
  • 2009 – Mary Stokes, a doctoral student in legal history at Osgoode Hall Law School, for a study of municipal law in nineteenth-century Ontario.
  • 2008 – Dr. Melanie Brunet, for work on legal education in the twentieth century
  • 2008 – Bradley Miller, a history Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, for work on the history of Canadian extradition
Roy McMurtry

Roy McMurtry

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Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History

The Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History was established by the Society in 2006 in honour of Professor Peter Oliver, the Society’s founding editor-in-chief. The prize is awarded annually for published work (journal article, book chapter, book) in Canadian legal history written by a student.

Students in any discipline at any stage of their careers are eligible. The Society takes a broad view of legal history, one that includes work in socio-legal history, legal culture, etc., as well as work on the history of legal institutions, legal personnel, and substantive law.

Students may self-nominate their published work, and faculty members are also encouraged to nominate student work of which they are aware. Those nominating their own work should send a copy of it to the Society.

The deadline for nominations for the 2017 Prize, to be awarded for work published in 2016, is April 30, 2017.

Please send nominations to Amanda Campbell, Oliver Prize Selection Committee, Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, M5H 2N6, or osgoodesociety@lsuc.on.ca.

Previous Winners of the Peter Oliver Prize

  • 2017 – Jason Hall, High Freshets and Low-Lying Farms: Property Law and St John River Flooding in Colonial New Brunswick’, The Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol 39, 2016:
  • 2016 – Dennis Molinaro, “Section 98: The Trial of Rex v. Buck et al and the ‘State of Exception’ in Canada, 1919-1936,” in Barry Wright, Eric Tucker and Susan Binnie, eds., Canadian State Trials Volume IV: Security, Dissent, and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace, 1914-1939  (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press, 2015)
  • 2015 – Edward Cavanagh,  ‘Possession and Dispossession in Corporate New France, 1600-1663: Debunking a “Juridical History” and Revisiting Terra Nullius,’  Law and History Review, vol 32, 2014
  • 2015 – Tyler Wentzell, ‘The Court and that Cataracts:  The Creation of the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park and the Ontario Court of Appeal,’ Ontario History, vol 106, 2014.
  • 2014 – Mary Stokes, ‘Grand Juries and ‘Proper Authorities”: Low Law, Soft Law, and Local Government in Canada West/Ontario, 1850-1880‘, in G. Blaine Baker and Donald Fyson, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Volume XI Quebec and the Canadas (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History and University of Toronto Press, 2013)
  • 2013 – Susan McKelvey, Creating the Myth of Raceless Justice in the Murder Trial of R. v. Richardson, Sandwich, 1903.’
  • 2013 – David Steeves, ‘Maniacal Murderer or Death Dealing Car: The Case of Daniel Perry Samson, 1933-1935.’
    Both essays were published as chapters in Barrington Walker, ed., The African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays (Osgoode Society, 2012)
  • 2012 – Edward Cavanaugh, ‘A Company with Sovereignty and Subjects of Its Own? The Case of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1763’, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol 26, 2011.
  • 2011 – Jonathon Penney, ‘Ivan Rand’s Ancient Constitutionalism, ‘University of New Brunswick Law Journal , Vol 61, 2010
  • 2010 – Bradley Miller, ” ‘A Carnival of Crime on our Border:’ International Law, Imperial Power, and Extradition in Canada, 1865-1883,” Canadian Historical Review, vol 90, 2009.
  • 2009 – Myles Leslie, “Reforming the Coroner: Death Investigation Manuals in Ontario, 1863-1894,’ Ontario History, vol 100, 2008.
  • 2008 – Eric Adams, “Canada’s ‘Newer Constitutional Law’ and the Idea of Constitutional Rights,” McGill Law Journal, vol 51, 2006.
Peter Oliver

Peter Oliver

Other Student Awards

Student Book Award.
The Society, in co-operation with Canadian law schools, offers an annual book award to a graduating student deemed to have done excellent work in legal history. The Society provides one book from its back list and also a current membership, including the annual publication, to such a student in each participating Canadian Law School.

Law Society Of Upper Canada/Osgoode Society Award Of Excellence.
Since 2000 the Law Society and the Osgoode Society have presented Osgoode Society memberships to the top 15 graduating students in each of Ontario’s law schools.