Desmond H. Brown

Desmond Brown is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. His research and teaching focused on the history of Canadian criminal justice and he has written extensively on the history of criminal law in Britain and Canada.

Dr. Brown has also done extensive scholarly consultation work. He has worked as a consultant to the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre of Nova Scotia, the Department of Justice (for a series of books to celebrate the centennial of the Canadian Criminal Code), the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Books

The Genesis Of The Canadian Criminal Code Of 1892 (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 1989), 253 pp.

Chapters in Osgoode Society Books

‘Codification, Public Order, and the Security Provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code, 1892’ in Barry Wright, and Susan Binnie, eds., Canadian State Trials Volume 3: Political Trials and Security Measures, 1840-1914 (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 2009), pp. 516 – 566 (with Barry Wright).

Other Legal History Publications

‘Ambiguous Authority: The Development of Criminal Law in the Canadian North-West and Alberta’ in Richard Connors and John M. Law, eds., Forging Alberta’s Constitutional Framework (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2005), pp. 25 – 60.

‘They do not submit themselves to the King’s law: Amerindians and Criminal Justice during the French Regime’ Manitoba Law Journal, Vol 28, 2002, pp. 378 – 411.

‘ “They Punish Murderers, Thieves, Traitors and Sorcerers”: Aboriginal Criminal Justice as Reported by Early French Observers’ Social History / Histoire Sociale, Vol 35, 2002, pp. 365 – 393.

The Birth of a Criminal Code: the Evolution of Canada’s Justice System (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995), 505 pp. (editor)

‘Be Sworn and Give Evidence: the Evolution of the Competent Witness in the Context of the Canada Evidence Act’ Manitoba Law Journal, Vol 22, 1994, pp. 349 – 393.

‘Parliamentary Magic: Sir John Thompson and the Enactment of the Criminal Code’ Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol 27, 1992, pp. 26 – 43.

‘Abortive Attempts to Codify English Criminal Law’ Parliamentary History, Vol 11, 1992, pp. 1 – 39.

‘The Craftsmanship of Bias: Sedition and the Winnipeg Strike Trial 1919’ Manitoba Law Journal, Vol 14, 1984, pp. 39 – 52.

‘Historical Perspective on the Statute of Uses’ Manitoba Law Journal, Vol 9, 1979, pp. 409 – 433.

‘Unpredictable and Uncertain: Criminal Law in the Canadian North West before 1886’ Alberta Law Review, Vol 17, 1979, pp. 497 – 512.

‘Foundations of British Policy in the Acadian Expulsion’ Dalhousie Review, Vol 57, 1977, pp. 709 – 725.

‘The Meaning of Treason in 1885’ Saskatchewan History, Vol 28, 1975, pp. 65 – 73.