Bond University

Article Title

The Legal Historian, Masochist or Missionary? A Canadian's Reflections


In this article I address the question of the relevance of the teaching of and research into legal history to the broader mission of legal educators. Based on my experience in devising and teaching courses in Canadian legal history and close observation of the growth of this area of scholarship in Canada, I argue strongly that legal historical instruction and research is vital to both the intellectual and practical endeavours of law schools. I do so because of a belief that knowledge of the development of law, legal institutions and legal ideology in the context of political, social and economic forces is essential to an understanding of legal culture (especially one’s own), and that historical understanding increasingly provides the context in which lawyers are called upon to apply their intellectual talents and skills to live problems.