The Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop group is an informal evening seminar that meets on alternate Wednesdays between September and April to discuss a wide variety of topics in legal history, Canadian and international. A paper is circulated in advance of each workshop by email, and after a short introduction by the author most of the time is devoted to discussion of the paper.  Participants are graduate students and faculty in law and history from a wide range of Universities, Canadian and international, as well as law students and members of the profession.

In 2022 the workshop will be conducted using ZOOM, which allows people to attend from across the country and beyond. Anybody interested in legal history is welcome to attend virtually. The workshop is held at 6.30 eastern time. If you would like to be put on the email list to receive papers and other scheduling information please email

Canadian Legal History Workshop Topics 2011-2022


All sessions start at 6.30 and will be presented via ZOOM. To be placed on the email list and receive the papers and links please email .

Wednesday September 14 – Jordyn Beaupre, McMaster University: “Localism in an International Social Purity Crusade: Establishing the Age of Consent in Late-Victorian Canada”.

Wednesday September 28 – Dan Rohde, Yale University: “The Bank of the People, 1835-1840: Law, Money and Sovereignty in Upper Canada”.

Wednesday October 12 – Bruce Ryder, Osgoode Hall Law School: “Canada’s First Anti-Discrimination Law: Ontario’s 1932 Prohibition on Unfair Discrimination in  Insurance Industry”

Wednesday October 26 – Jim Phillips, University of Toronto: “The Trials and Travails of Elizabeth Campbell: A remarkable Parliamentary Divorce of the 1870s”.

Wednesday November 9 – Philip Girard, Osgoode Hall Law School: “On the edge of many empires: employers’ liability and workers’ compensation in Quebec’s industrial age, 1880-1931”.

Wednesday November 23  – Elena Caruso, University of Kent Law School: “The ‘Social Decriminalisation’ of Abortion and the Rise of the Feminist Movement in 1970s Italy”.

Wednesday, December 7 – Ian Radforth, University of Toronto: “Deadly Swindle: an English Dandy on Trial for Murder in Victorian Ontario”.

Professor Lori Chambers, Lakehead University

Canadian legal history has emerged as a cutting-edge field within the study of Canada's past, and Canadian legal historians are also celebrated participants in international debates about the historical role of law as both a mechanism of control and a source of social challenge. The Osgoode Society for Legal History has been essential in the national and international success of Canadian legal history and historians. The Osgoode Society not only publishes a wide range of books, but also supports students and research and facilitates communication between legal historians. The legal history workshop is a very important part of that communication. Legal historians outside of Canada frequently comment on the Osgoode Society, and its work in Canada, with considerable (and justifiable) envy. The importance of the Osgoode Society cannot be overstated.