Join us for an evening of new insights into Canadian Legal History.
This evening will feature the current holders of the Society’s R. Roy McMurtry Fellowships in Canadian Legal History. Doctoral students Filippo Spossini (University of Toronto) and Anna Jarvis (York University) will discuss their research. Come and hear about civil commitment for insanity in the nineteenth century, and about colonial judges, patronage and family networks.
Anna Jarvis, Patronage and the Canadian Colonial Judiciary: Edward Jarvis of Prince Edward Island
This presentation will look at the role patronage played in the life and career of Edward James Jarvis, who was Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island from 1828-1852. Jarvis was part of a second generation of Loyalist families whose fathers sought to further their son’s careers by drawing on professional, community, and family ties, networks those sons in turn drew on for their own sons. Jarvis sought the patronage of fellow attorneys, judges, colonial officials, and other prominent figures to further his legal career, illustrating the ways in which the patronage system functioned to maintain social, economic, and political divisions and hierarchies within colonial society.
Filippo Sposini, Just the Basic Facts: The Certification of Insanity in Ontario (1870s-1890s)
The certification of insanity was a medico-legal procedure regulating admission into psychiatric institutions. This presentation will focus on the certification procedure developed during the second half of the nineteenth-century in Ontario. Taking the Toronto Lunatic Asylum as a case study, it will explore the introduction of certificates of insanity, examination practices, and people involved in the process. It will show that certification in Ontario was a consensus-based procedure shielding medical practitioners from potential legal actions.
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