Property on Trial
Canadian Cases in Context
Co-Published with the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
Property on Trial is a collection of 14 studies of Canadian property law disputes — some well-known, some more obscure — that have helped to shape the contours of the principles and rules of property law over 150 years. These studies, written by some of Canada’s leading legal historians, range in time from a discussion of a nineteenth-century dispute over the ownership of seal pelts in Newfoundland to modern questions of what constitutes private property in a digital age. They investigate the relationship between private and public interests in property; the limits of private property owners’ rights in relation to others, particularly neighbours and family; and the intersection of property law principles with other branches of the law, including criminal law, family law, and human rights.
The authors describe, in rich detail, the social, cultural, and political contexts in which the events unfolded, the backgrounds and personalities of the litigants, the skills of the lawyers, and the judicial attitudes of the day. On the one hand, Property on Trial is a collection of thoughtful and compelling stories about conflict in a wide variety of contexts, each with its own heroines and heroes, villains and ne’er-do-wells, winners and losers. On the other, it is an insightful look at the history of property law doctrine in Canada.
Eric Tucker, B.A., LL.B., LL.M. is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He has published extensively on the history and current state of labour and employment law. He is the author of Administering Danger in the Workplace (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990) and co-author of Labour Before the Law: The Legal Regulation of Workers’ Collective Action (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001, with Judy Fudge) and Self-Employed Workers Organize (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005, with Cynthia Cranford, Judy Fudge, and Leah Vosko). He is also the editor of Working Disasters: The Politics of Recognition and Response (Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, 2006).
James Muir is an assistant professor of History and Law at the University of Alberta. He works on Canadian legal and labour history, with publications on 18th- and 19th-century Nova Scotia, 20th-century Manitoba and Alberta and the practice of teaching legal history.
Bruce Ziff is a professor of law at the University of Alberta. He has also taught at the University of Wollongong in Australia, and Osgoode Hall Law School. Professor Ziff has served as a Special Counsel for the Alberta Law Reform Institute and as an advisor on land titles reform in Ukraine. He is a recipient of the AC Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Professor Ziff’s research deals mainly with property and legal history. He is the author of Principles of Property Law, 5th ed (Carswell, 2010), and Unforeseen Legacies: Reuben Wells Leonard and the Leonard Foundation Trust (Osgoode Society, 2000), and he is a co-editor of A Property Law Reader 3rd ed. (Carswell, 2012) and Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation (Rutgers University Press, 1997).