Court records can be hard to get when researching from a distance. I stumbled across a great resource on Canadiana recently. The Eastern Law Reporter covered court cases in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island from 1906 to 1915. Canadiana has 25 issues available, from 1909 to 1911.
Now there are 2 volumes available: 12 issues for Volume VII, and 13 for Volume IX. What you want to do is look at the first issue for each of the Volumes. These contain the index for the whole volume in the first few pages.
The description by Canadiana is “Containing judgements of the Courts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island And of the Exchequer Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in cases arising in such Provinces.” . I found it an interesting read, even though I have no legal training. There of course are case citations and some legalese in the writing. This is not unexpected, because the publication is geared towards those who work in legal circles. However, the timelines and details of the cases are really detailed. In fact, each case runs from a few pages to several. They also highlight cases from all aspects of law. In the interest of space, I’ll highlight some of the shorter ones.
Take for instance, Dora M Hagerty v. McGrath and the Town of North Sydney from 1909. It involves unpaid taxes, a horse, and the question on whether a woman could legally fulfill the role of Town Clerk.
Or how about this one from November 1909, North v. Martin. It involves the sale of a cow infected with tuberculosis.
Here’s one from February 1911, In Re Robert McLaurin Legacy. It was brought to the Court of Chancery, because of irregularities in an Estate.
Finally, here’s one from September 1910, Edmondson v. Allen. This one is an appeal on a decision in a civil suit.
3 thoughts on “Going to Court with The Eastern Law Reporter”
If you want to look for ancestors in Canadian case law, you could also try CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) at https://www.canlii.org/ It contains much of the current case law from all the provinces, at all levels of court. It is also actively adding more of the older historical cases as well. For example, a 1932 case involving an ancestor that I could only find 10 years ago by visiting thee law library at Dalhousie and going through the case reporters there is now part of the CanLII collection. Granted, I don’t mind an excuse to visit the Maritimes…
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CanLII is also a great resource, especially when you aren’t sure which province to focus on. I’ve highlighted it in previous blog posts. It’s a resource that needs mentioning again though. Thanks for the reminder!
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