Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume VI: British Columbia and the Yukon

edited by Hamar Foster and John MclarenFaculty of Law, University of Victoria. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1995.

This sixth volume in the distinguished series on the history of Canadian law turns to the central theme in the history of British Columbia and the Yukon – law and order. In the early days of British sovereignty, the frenzied activity of the fur trade and the gold rush, along with clashes between settlers and Natives, made law enforcement a difficult business. Later, although law and order were more firmly established, tensions continued between the dominant populations committed to the practice and rhetoric of British justice and those groups owing allegiance to other value systems (such as Native peoples, Asian immigrants, and Doukhobors) or those resisting authority (criminals and the criminally insane). These essays look at key social, economic, and political issues of the times and show how they influenced the developing legal system.The essays cover a wide range of topics, and explore the human as well as the legal dimensions of their subjects, relating specific cases to broader theory. They demonstrate that English law has been flexible enough to accommodate diversity and is, therefore, pragmatic. The volume also shows how geography, demography, politics, economics, and military considerations have had an impact on the shape of our legal culture. The introduction by John McLaren and Hamar Foster pulls together the many regional themes to provide a clear overview of the legal complexities of the period.

Reviews of Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume VI: British Columbia and the Yukon

A splendid addition to the all-too-sparse literature of British Columbia and Yukon legal history.... This is a book to order quickly.  Martin Taylor, The Advocate, vol 54, 1996 , p. 453.
The essays are conveniently broken down into chapters dealing with aboriginal issues, crime and policing, religion and education, labour and social welfare, and the legal profession itself. All of these reflect the recurrence of conflicts between aboriginal and dissident groups and the law, a fact which will make this book useful as a reference not only for historical scholars but also for those dealing with similar problems today, particularly in the area of aboriginal justice and land-claims issues.  C. D. Ram, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol 46, 1997, p. 496.

Reviews have also appeared in the following publications:

  • Louis A. Knafla, American Journal of Legal History, Vol 42, 1998, p. 461.
  • C.D. Ram, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol 46, 1997, p. 496.
  • John A. Cherrington, B.C. Historical News, Vol 30, 1997, p. 37.
  • Ian Holloway, Australian Journal of Legal History, Vol 2, 1996, p. 223.
  • Anonymous, Law & Social Inquiry, Vol 21, 1996, p. 493.
  • Reviews have also appeared in a variety of other media.