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The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies

Hamar Foster

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ISBN 10: 0774814918 / ISBN 13: 9780774814911
Published by University of British Columbia Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture ...

Publisher: University of British Columbia Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

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Synopsis:

In the late nineteenth century, the English legal historians Frederick Pollock and F.W. Maitland coined the phrase "the grand experiment" to describe the spread of English law throughout the British Empire. For Pollock and Maitland, this was an unequivocally positive process that would uplift settler societies. The work of recent legal historians, however, has alerted us to the more complex impact English law had on the peoples, both settler and indigenous, of those colonial societies. This "new colonial legal history" has revealed subtle and more ambiguous understandings of "the grand experiment." The essays in this volume reflect the exciting new directions in which legal history in the settler colonies of the British Empire has developed. The contributors, all noted scholars, show how local life and culture in selected settlements influenced, and was influenced by, the ideology of the rule of law that accompanied the British colonial project. Exploring themes of legal translation, local understandings, judicial biography, and "law at the boundaries," they examine the legal cultures of dominions in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to provide a contextual and comparative account of the "incomplete implementation of the British constitution" in these colonies. A variety of topics are covered, ranging from libel law in New South Wales, Upper Canada, and Massachusetts to the much-neglected question of the extent to which British courts took note of the decisions made by courts in the settler dominions. Given the current lively debates about national characteristics and the rights of aboriginal peoples in British settler societies, this historical investigation has immediate relevance. The Grand Experiment will be of interest to all those whose lives have been shaped by the legacy of English law.

Review:

This collection of essays by Canada's and Australasia's most accomplished legal historians is a ?must' for academic libraries and those who share these scholars' interest in the legal culture of the British colonial world.- Peter Karsten is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Between Law and Custom: "High" and "Low" Legal Cultures in the Lands of the British Diaspora, 1600?1900

This collection of essays by Canada's and Australasia's most accomplished legal historians is a "must" for academic libraries and those who share these scholars? interest in the legal culture of the British colonial world.? Peter Karsten, author of Between Law and Custom: "High" and "Low" Legal Cultures in the Lands of the British Diaspora, 1600-1900

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