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Osgoode Society Announces 2020 Award Winners

Press Release

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2020  – The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is very pleased to announce the winners of its awards for 2020.

Peter Oliver Prize
Named for the Society’s first and long-serving Editor-in-Chief, the Peter Oliver Prize is given for published work in Canadian legal history by a student. The 2020 winner is Jacqueline Briggs, a Ph.D. student in the Centre for Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, University of Toronto, for her article ‘Exemplary Punishment: T.R.L. MacInnes, the Department of Indian Affairs, and Indigenous Executions, 1936-1952, published in the Canadian Historical Review. The article is a fascinating account of a legal aid programme for capitally-charged Indigenous defendants, the first publicly-funded legal aid programme in Canada. It was also awarded the prize for the best article published in 2019 by the Political History Group of the Canadian Historical Association.

The Hon. R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Canadian Legal History
Created on the occasion of his retirement as Chief Justice of Ontario, the McMurtry Fellowship honors Roy McMurtry’s contributions to Canadian Legal History as the founder and long-time President of the Osgoode Society. It supports a graduate or post-doctoral student working in the field of Canadian legal history.

This year the Society was able to award fellowships to its first choice and to two honourable mentions. The principal winner is Jean-Christophe Bédard-Rubin, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, who is writing an intellectual history of Ētienne Parent, a leading Quebec constitutional thinker in the immediate pre- and post-Confederation period.

Michael Borsk and Krista Barclay are this year’s honourable mentions. Michael Borsk is a Ph.D. student in history at Queen’s University. He is researching the history of ideas about private property and sovereignty in Ontario and Michigan in the first half of the nineteenth century. Krista Barclay received her PhD from the University of Manitoba and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. She is working on inheritance law in nineteenth-century British North America.

The John T. Saywell Prize in Canadian Constitutional Legal History
Created to honour the memory and legacy of one of Canada’s leading political and legal historians, the Saywell Prize is awarded every other year to a book that has made a substantial and enduring contribution to Canadian Constitutional History. The 2020 winner is Flawed Precedent: The St Catherine’s Case and Aboriginal Title, by Professor Kent McNeil of Osgoode Hall Law School. The book examines in detail the context for, and legacy of, the Privy Council decision that stood for decades as the leading statement of what aboriginal title meant in the Canadian constitution.

Congratulations to all our award winners. Congratulations also to one of our own authors, Eric Reiter, whose 2019 Osgoode Society book Wounded Feelings: Litigating Emotions in Quebec, 1870-1950, recently won the 2020 Canadian Historical Association Prize for the best book in Canadian History.

The mandate of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History is to promote the publication of work on the legal history of Canada and a create and preserve an oral history archive. It recognises that Canada’s legal heritage features a complex mosaic of diverse Indigenous and European legal traditions, and seeks to help Canadians understand these long standing and dynamic traditions, all of which continue to influence our law.

For further information: Media inquiries: Professor Jim Phillips, Editor-in-Chief, Email: [email protected]

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