"You Must Learn to See Life Steady and Whole": Ivan Cleveland Rand and Legal Education

By Holloway, Ian | University of New Brunswick Law Journal, December 2010 | Go to article overview

"You Must Learn to See Life Steady and Whole": Ivan Cleveland Rand and Legal Education


Holloway, Ian, University of New Brunswick Law Journal


IVAN RAND: A MAN AND HIS TIMES

To understand properly Ivan Rand's views on legal education, just as to understand properly his jurisprudence, it is critical to appreciate that he was born a Victorian and came of age an Edwardian. He came to national prominence in the Atomic Age--in the middle part of the twentieth century--but he was born in 1884, in the midst of the Mahdi's Rebellion in the Sudan and a year before the Riel Rebellion in the old Red River Territory. His birth took place in the same year that the British Parliament enacted the Third Reform Bill, (1) and only two years after the Married Women's Property Act came into force. (2) Rand was sixteen when Queen Victoria died and, while old enough to have enlisted in the Canadian battalions that fought in the Boer War, he was too old to serve in the First World War. He was thirty years of age when the "Guns of August" started and almost thirty-five when they fell silent in November 1918.

To consider Ivan Rand in this context can seem not a little startling, for we--at least those of us who are not students of the political history of the Maritime Provinces or of the Canadian National Railway--tend to think of him in terms of the foment of our times. His landmark judgments in the Jehovah's Witnesses cases (3) are generally presented either as a presage to Quebec's Quiet Revolution or as a prelude to the constitutionalization of civil rights in Canada. Likewise, his formula for resolving disputes over the requirement to pay union dues (which now bears his name) is understood to be one of the key episodes in the post-War coming of age of Canadian labour law.

So, too, for those who know much about Ivan Rand's legacy in legal education. He assumed the founding deanship at the University of Western Ontario at the tail end of the struggle over control of legal education in Ontario, which was really a struggle over its modernization. Yet the fact remains that the intellectual assumptions which guided his life--the "inherited instincts, traditional beliefs, acquired convictions", as Cardozo famously put them (4)--were formulated when the present Queen's great-grandfather and great-great grandmother were on the throne.

In fact, Ivan Rand himself once described the economic, social and political forces at play in his youth. Though writing of the United States, with only slight modification, his observations held true for Canada too:

   The quarter century between 1890 and 1915 saw in the United States
   the emergence of a phase of national life in which the dominant
   role was taken by the power of capital evolving in many
   manifestations through industry and control of natural resources.
   The nation had reached the geographical limits of its expansion and
   was settling into the intense development and organization of its
   economy. As the imagination of its captains swept back horizons,
   massive conceptions took shape. Here was a world in itself, holding
   open the greatest opulence of nature to the swift, the strong and
   the skilful. In the mounting crescendo came aggregations of
   economic interest, interlocking controls over money and industry,
   monopolistic establishments and rumblings of labour conflict. (5)

Though seldom quoted today, this passage captures, as well as anything else that he wrote, the challenges that Justice Rand felt the common law system faced in his lifetime--and, for present purposes, the challenges that lay before those who had responsibility for educating lawyers. We are all, to one extent or another, creatures of our time. His was a time, as his own words attest, of imagination and science. It was the moment when educated people could, without any sense of contradiction, embrace a blend of high-Victorian idealism and classic liberal rationalism. It was also the moment when educated lawyers, of whom Justice Rand stood in the first rank, could see themselves in the vanguard of a new form of constitutionalism, whose mission was to civilize the industrial state. …

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