Membership

Join the Osgoode Society

Established in 1979, the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History publishes books on Canadian legal history, creates and preserves an oral history archive, and puts on legal history lectures and similar events.

Since 1981 the Society has published 118 books, including our 2022 books, on a remarkably diverse range of topics in Canadian legal history, and has recorded more than 640 oral histories from various members of the legal profession.

We have five categories of membership. With a regular membership, at $75, you receive the annual members’ book. The members’ book is also included with student memberships, which are $25. If you wish to not only join the Society but also contribute a donation to support its work, you can take out an Individual Sustaining Membership for $175. This brings you the members’ book and all the other benefits of membership, and a charitable tax donation for $100.

We also have a category of membership called the McMurtry Circle, at $500. Members of the McMurtry Circle receive the members’ book, a certificate of appreciation signed by our founder, the Hon. R. Roy McMurtry, and a charitable donation receipt for $425. Editor-in-Chief Professor Jim Phillips is a member of the McMurtry Circle, and encourages others to join. Society President Robert Sharpe used to be a member but has now become a patron. Finally, to respond to some of our members who tell us that they want to support the Osgoode Society but do not want our membership book, we have a ‘Membership – No Book’ category at $60.

The benefits of membership other than the members’ book and being able to support the most successful legal-historical organization in the common law world include a regular newsletter giving notice of our events and other news, the ability to buy our optional extra books at a discount price compared to that charged by the publisher, and participation in our book sale specials – a bulk discount at any time and special sales at year’s end.

MEMBERS’ BOOKS 2022

We have two member’s books this year. Our primary members’ book for 2022 is Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, published by the University of Toronto Press. Jim Phillips is Professor of Law and History at the University of Toronto. Philip Girard is Professor of Law and History at Osgoode Hall Law School/ York University. Blake Brown is Professor of History at St Mary’s University, Halifax. This is the second volume of what will be a three-volume history of law in what is now Canada. The main theme of A History of Law in Canada Volume II is encapsulated in its sub-title:  Law for the New Dominion. As a new state on the global stage, Canada tried to use law to weld into one nation several disparate settler colonies established on Indigenous lands. But unity was elusive:  Canada had to recognize Quebec civil law and tried to override or replace Indigenous law even as it faced challenges to its own authority, from the Northwest Rebellion to the claims of restive provincial premiers.  The volume deals with all aspects of Canadian law and legal institutions, with chapters on the constitution, courts and judges, sources of law (common law, civil law, Indigenous law and statutes), the legal profession, Canadian law and Indigenous peoples (3 chapters), criminal law, law and the economy, labour law, property law, the law affecting women’s status, and civil rights and minorities.

Members renewing their membership or joining for the first time before May 30, 2022 can select the alternative members’ book:  Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case, published by the University of British Columbia Press. The RDS case is Canada’s most momentous race case.   For the first time, the Supreme Court of Canada considered a complaint of judicial racial bias.  Earlier complacency about the racial neutrality of an all-white judiciary was shattered.  Ironically, the judge in question was Corrine Sparks, Canada’s first Black female judge.  She was accused of racial bias against whites.  In 1993, a white Halifax police officer arrested a Black teenager, placed him in a choke-hold, and charged him with assaulting an officer and obstructing arrest.  In acquitting the teen, Judge Sparks remarked that police sometimes overreacted when dealing with non-white youth.  The acquittal held, but most of the white appeal judges critiqued Judge Sparks’ comments, using legal traditions that erased race and racism in the legal system.  Anti-racist advocates disputed the concept of race neutrality and sought to unmask the presumption of white judicial objectivity. This book assesses the RDS case, the arrest that precipitated it, the people who took it to court, the excitement that surrounded it, the dramatic effects it had on the individuals involved, and its ultimate significance for the Canadian legal system.

Whichever members book you choose, you can buy the other one as an optional extra.  If you want both members’ books, you are advised to select A History of Law in Canada as your members’ book and buy Reckoning with Racism as an optional extra, because that would be a cheaper option.

In 2022 we are also publishing an additional optional extra, Canadian State Trials Volume 5: World War, Cold War and Challenges to Sovereignty, 1939-1990, edited by J. Barry Wright, Susan Binnie and Eric Tucker. Published by the University of Toronto Press. Barry Wright is Professor of Law and Criminology at Carleton University. Eric Tucker is a Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. Susan Binnie is an independent scholar. The fifth and final volume of the Canadian state trials series examines political trials and national security measures occurring for the period 1939-1990. Essays by historians and legal scholars examine experiences during the Second World War and its immediate aftermath (use of the War Measures Act to register enemy aliens, and Japanese Canadian property confiscations, relocations and internment, and post war deportations and appeals, as well as war crimes proceedings), the early Cold War (the Gouzenko Affair, investigations and spy trials under the Official Secrets Act), political and legal responses in Quebec to the FLQ from 1963-72 (including the October Crisis), and legal responses to labour and Indigenous resistance (strikes and standoffs). The chapters examine legal responses set out in the relevant political, economic, social and cultural contexts, and illuminate common themes between chapters within the volume and with those in previous volumes of the series. This volume concludes the first comprehensive look at this area of Canadian law and politics and provides insights into the tensions within the rule of law, between executive authority and liberties, and between state sovereignty and self-determination.

Please note that these titles have not yet been published. We expect a publication date in the fall but will send an update when we have more information. The book(s) will be automatically sent to you.

Your membership in the Society helps us continue to promote and to preserve Canadian Legal History. Join us!

Renew or Join as an Individual Member with book for 2022 – $75

Includes the 2022 member’s book – Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, OR Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an Student Member for 2022 – $25

Includes the 2022 member’s book – Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, OR Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an Individual Sustaining Member for 2022 – $175

Includes the 2022 member’s book – Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, OR Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an McMurtry Circle Member for 2022 – $500

Includes the 2022 member’s book – Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, OR Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the join now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


Renew or Join as an Individual Member no book for 2022 – $60

Members’ book is not included.


Gift Membership for 2022 – $75

All Gift Memberships include the 2021 member’s book – Jim Phillips, Philip Girard, and R. Blake Brown, A History of Law in Canada Volume II: Law for the New Dominion, 1867-1914, OR Constance Backhouse, Reckoning with Racism: Police, Judges, and the RDS Case. The book will be automatically sent to the recipient along with a note describing member benefits and listing the gifter.

Optional Extras: You can choose to include the optional extras after clicking the buy now link. There is an option to buy both optional extras and save $20.


 

A portion of the individual sustaining and McMurtry Circle memberships entitle the member to a charitable receipt.