The Early Canadian Periodicals (ECP) project is a rich source of material for research into Canadian legal history and related disciplines. Law and jurisprudence topics in the collection range from seigniorial acts and temperance legislation to copyright, Quebec civil law, and the constitutional issues surrounding Confederation.
ECP recently added a set of landmark journals that captures the full range of early legal publishing in Canada, including the handful of titles published outside Central Canada in the 19th century. Aimed at practitioners, these journals encompassed statutes, case law, and court proceedings as well as speeches, biographies, editorials, and reference materials from the legal profession.
Law periodicals titles are essential to understanding the historical norms and standards of lawmaking and the extent to which law expanded into the social, commercial and private life of early Canada. Legal issues surrounding education, religion, health care and family affairs are well represented and also important to the social sciences and studies of public policy.
This project draws heavily on microfilm produced by the former Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM, now Canadiana.org). From 1978 to 2003, CIHM microfilmed early journals and monographs to improve scholarly access and halt physical deterioration. To learn more about CIHM’s work in preserving Canada’s published heritage, see History of Canadiana.org.
These titles exploring the complex history of Canada’s culturally divided legal system were selected for digitization and easy access through Early Canadiana Online:
• La thémis / monthly review of legislation and jurisprudence, published by influential Montreal printer Eusèbe Sénecal (60 issues, 1879-84*)
• The Legal News / launched by James Kirby (1840-1914), a prominent Montreal legal journalist, to serve the growing demand for commercial jurisprudence, theretofore only available in legal scrapbooks (865 issues, 1878-97*)
• The Lower Canada Law Journal / edited by James Kirby from 1865 to 1868 as a mouthpiece for members of the bar to voice their opinions and “advocate such improvements and amendments in the law as they may desire to see carried out” (16 issues, 1865-67)
• The Canada Law Journal (912 issues, 1867-1922*) succeeded the Upper Canada Law Journal (Toronto, 1855-67)
• The Barrister / legal publication advocating the formation of provincial bar associations (34 issues, 1894-97)
• Rapports de Pratique de Quebec / a review of Quebec practices and cases (3 issues, 1898-1900)
• Manitoba Law Journal and Law Reports / edited by J. S. Ewart (1849-33), barrister-at-law and member of the Manitoba Bar (24 issues, 1884-85*)
• La revue légale : recueil de jurisprudence et d'arrêts / by the Gazette de Sorel (45 issues, 1869-1900)
• The British Columbia Law Notes (2 issues, 1894*)
*Indicates the complete publication history