Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume IX, Two Islands: Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island

edited by Christopher English, Department of History, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2005.

Voices from the East beyond the Northumberland and Cabot Straits. This volume of essays on the legal histories of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland opens with innovative essays on the historiography of two ‘island’ jurisdictions of Atlantic Canada. Eleven essays examine legal themes, developments and disputes drawn from the distinctive jurisdictions they investigate. The essays offer a framework for comparison of the administration of justice through the courts or examine contested cases in common law (criminal, libel, property and inheritance), and in Chancery, with a comparative excursion into New South Wales. Several pose intriguing questions about women’s legal status and their access to the courts and reach revisionist conclusions.

Reviews of Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume IX, Two Islands: Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island

Two Islands will be welcomed by those interested in Canadian legal history, and those interested in the social, cultural, and political histories of Newfoundland and P.E.I. R. Blake Brown, Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol 31, 2008, p. 463.
This collection of historical essays should disabuse political scientists of any idea that the judicialization of politics and the politicalization of the judiciary are strictly contemporary phenomena.... [I]t is important to understand that judicial power has been an enduring feature in political societies founded on the English tradition of governance. This book helps us appreciate that this power can be as much a force for good as for ill.... Besides giving us many insights into the law and justice system of Canada’s island provinces, the volume provides useful accounts of their legal historiography – Christopher English writing on Newfoundland’s and J.M. Bumsted on Prince Edward Island’s. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island may be Canada’s only two provinces without a law school, but this collection of essays by scholars, young and old, from a variety of disciplines, show that these provinces do not lack a talented legal academy. Peter H. Russell, Law and Politics Book Review, Vol 16, 2006, p. 536.
Two Islands... signals the arrival of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island into the field of Canadian legal history. While there remains more to be done in elaborating and expanding our legal historical understanding of those two islands and their peoples, these future enquiries can be founded on an essay collection that successfully provides compelling examples of the quality scholarship that can be produced. Jonathon Swainger, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, Vol 23, 2008, p. 263.
This collection of essays spans the legal history of two colonies of the British Empire, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. In both jurisdictions, legal history is a relatively new topic of interest, not yet a field.... [T]he authors of these essays are opening up previously unexamined avenues of dialogue....[T]his volume contributes to our understanding of the law's place in ...key social developments.... Nearly all of [the essays]... set out specific instances in which British common law and imperial statutes are modified by local practice. Jeff A. Webb, American Journal of Legal History, Vol 48, 2006, p. 233.

Reviews have also appeared in the following publications:

  • Sean Cadigan, Canadian Historical Review, Vol 27, 2006, p. 695