Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Oracle to Provincial Bastion

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Oracle to Provincial Bastion

Article excerpt

Philip Gerard, Jim Phillips and Barry Cahill (eds), The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Oracle to Provincial Bastion (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2004), xvii + 515pp. Cloth. $75. £48. ISBN 0-8020-8021-9.

The 250th anniversary of the oldest common law court in Canada is commemorated by this well produced volume of essays. The editors describe the collection as a hybrid, around a core formed by two substantial overviews of the court's history, pre- and post-Confederation. This section is prefaced by three contributions dealing with English precedent and imperial context, supplemented by surveys of buildings and personnel, and followed by six specific studies. There are essays on women as litigants, on appeals to American legal authority and attempts to defend provincial autonomy, as well as discussions of the court's record regarding industrial injury and labour relations laws. Despite its title, this Nova Scotia institution is best understood as a provincial superior court rather than as a Supreme Court on Ottawa or Washington lines: from early days, for instance, it went on circuit, to take the majesty of imperial authority to the people. The role and character of the court has changed over time. …

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