The Genesis of The Canadian Criminal Code of 1892

by Desmond Brown. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1989.

In 1892 the Canadian Parliament enacted the Criminal Code. Drafted in just over a year by a justice department consisting of fourteen men occupying six offices, it was the first such code to be enforced in a self-governing jurisdiction in the British empire. As such, the code was a revolutionary development in the common-law world, for both the existing statute and common law were integrated in a rational and systematic format. The impact of the legislation was far-reaching. It changed the focus of the development of the criminal law from the judiciary to Parliament and, as the Canadian Journal of Criminal Law points out, ‘it worked so well that not only did it serve as a model for legislators in other British jurisdictions but its form remains fundamentally unaltered despite changes in both law and the society it governed over the ensuing one hundred years. In The Genesis of the Canadian Criminal Code of 1892, Desmond Brown explains the origins of the Code in the context of the social and political circumstances of nineteenth-century Canada. This authoritative study of the events leading to the enactment of the Code adds significantly to our understanding of nineteenth-century Canadian legal processes.

Reviews of The Genesis of The Canadian Criminal Code of 1892

Desmond H. Brown’s The Genesis of the Canadian Criminal Code of 1892 is another scholarly, detailed study.  H.S. Ferns, English Historical Review, vol 108, 1993, p. 1055.
A book which I enjoyed!.... A “must have” for law libraries, lawyers and a broader academic audience.  Catherine J Matthews, Canadian Law Libraries, vol 15, 1990, p. 37.

Reviews have also appeared in the following publications:

  • Tina Loo, Canadian Journal of Criminology, Vol 35, 1993, p. 61.
  • Nancy Parker, Canadian Historical Review, Vol 73, 1992, p. 271.
  • Josée Néron, Cahiers de droit, Vol 33, 1992, p. 652.
  • Keith Jobson, Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol 14, 1991, p. 214.
  • Graham Parker, American Journal of Legal History, Vol 35, 1991, p. 111.
  • Graham Parker, Canadian Journal of Law & Society, Vol 5, 1990, p. 151.
  • Peter Michalyshyn, Alberta Law Review, Vol 28, 1990, p. 963.
  • Carolyn Strange, Ontario History, Vol 82, 1990, p. 257.
  • Louise Labrèche-Renaud, Revue de droit Université de Sherbrooke, Vol 20, 1989, p. 215.
  • Canadian Association of Law Libraries Newsletter-Bulletin, Vol 14, 1989, p. 133.