SS Daisy Legal History

The SS Daisy Legal History Committee is a committee of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador whose mandate is the preservation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s legal heritage, including the history of law, the courts, the lawyers and the Law Society. The name of the committee is taken from the government boat SS Daisy that carried lawyers, judges, sheriffs and clerks to the courts in smaller communities in pre-1949 Newfoundland.

lawreports$81.35 HST Inc. The SS Daisy Legal History Committee works to date include taping and transcribing oral histories of senior members of the Bench and Bar, preserving the Barrister’s Roll which dates from 1826, and publishing the last volume of the Newfoundland Law Reports which contains previously unreported decisions of the Supreme Court for the two years immediately before Newfoundland and Labrador joined confederation.The frontispiece to the volume, honi soit qui mal y pense, was prepared by George Horan, Q.C., depicts the three judges whose decisions are reported in the volume sitting en banc and is available for separate purchase.

The SS Daisy Legal History Committee’s work to date includes:

silkrobes$17.25 HST Inc.

Silk Robes & Sou’westers – The Supreme Court 1791-1991

The bicentenary of the establishment of Newfoundland’s supreme “court of civil jurisdiction” marks the emergence of a statutory regime from which the present Judicature Act, court system, jurisdiction, procedures, and officers have evolved. In light of the modest material, demographic, institutional and experiential base upon which the Act of 1791 was erected, the process of tailoring and adapting a system of law to new, often unforeseen, demands over 200 years marks a considerable achievement. This essay traces the emergence of the Act of 1791 from earliest times.

pub_flag_anthem$17.25 HST Inc.

A Flag, An Anthem, A Courthouse

A people often gives voice to its identity by constructing public monuments which express pride in past achievements and signal future hopes and intentions. This urge towards self-definition was especially marked in St. John’s at the turn of the century…Public buildings, memorial crosses, a flag, a national anthem, a trans-island railway and modernized harbours expressed a complementary self-awareness. Their creators wished to present themselves as confident, progressive, and modern yet solid, responsible and alert to the debt preceding generations.

undertheclock$17.25 HST Inc.

Under the Clock – A Legal History of the “Ancient Capital”

The appointment of Justices of the Peace constituted the first attempt at year round governance on this island. It provided a form in which personal and, increasingly, commercial disputes could arbitrated when the Governor and his surrogates were absent in the winter months…During the summer of 2002, the people of Placentia celebrated the 100th anniversary of the building of the present courthouse in Placentia. It was then the oldest wooden building in Newfoundland still in full time use as a courthouse. It replaced the courthouse that had been built in 1774.

labrador$17.25 HST Inc.

Down North on the Labrador – The Court of Civil Jurisdiction 1826 to 1833

Though tied to the history of the island portion of the Province, Labrador from earliest times had its own unique legal traditions. This is hardly surprising when we recall that the law at once reflects and helps shape the society out of which it springs. From the outset, the administration of justice in Labrador had to respond to unique challenges of a mixture of cultures and languages, an immense geography and a physical separation from the island part of the colony. This was as true for Judge Paterson on his arrival in Indian Harbour, Labrador, in 1826 as it is today.

justice$17.25 HST Inc.

Poetic Justice: – Literary Lawyers and Artistic Advocates

It has often been said that the law is a jealous mistress, who demands of those who would succeed in it an earnest and entire devotion. The poet Emerson, however, makes the same claim for art, and admonishes that if a man has a genius for painting, poetry or music he makes an ill provider. This small anthology puts the lie to both aphorisms. Consider James Boswell, Leon Tolstoy, A.M. Klein, Frank Scott and others. All boasts of two mistresses – the law and art.

ireland$23.00 HST Inc.

Ireland’s Eye in Newfoundland and Labrador – Thomas Talbot’s Letter to a Friend in Ireland (1882)

Talbot, an Irish emigrant, came to Newfoundland in 1837 and was active in the public life of the colony almost from the time of his arrival. His text published first in 1832 and not now readily available, provides an insightful account of “the conditions and circumstances” of his new home on this arrival and over a period of more than 40 years and documents his varies contributions to public life as an educator, writer, classical scholar, and politician throughout the period.

barrels$23.00 HST Inc.

Barrels to Benches – The Foundations of English Law on Newfoundland’s West Coast

When Sir Robert Bond addressed Newfoundland’s House of Assembly in April 1904 to announce that, as part of the diplomatic arrangements signed between the United Kingdom and France, the French Shore Question had been resolved, he assured his listeners that this issue had long been a thorny cause of irritation…

faceofjustice$22.60 HST Inc.

The Face of Justice on Newfoundland’s Northeast Coast

The essays contained in this volume trace essential elements of the face of justice on Newfoundland’s northeast coast from the migratory fishery of the 18th century to the pre-confederation decades of the 20th. They were written by academic and by public community historians and reflect the growing interest in our legal history both within and outside the university community. They show not only that the sources of law and the level of justice activities varied as demographic, social and economic conditions changed throughout this period, but that the law and its institutions formed an integral part of the fabric of everyday community life and were valued as such.

ferryland$28.75 HST Inc.

A Ferryland Merchant – Magistrate: The Journal and Cases of Robert Carter, Esq. J.P. 1832-1980 Vol. 1

Robert Carter served as Magistrate in Ferryland at a pivotal point in Newfoundland’s history: the tumultuous period from the grant of representative government in 1832 to the emergence of responsible government in 1855. His journal offers an unrivalled picture, over a sustained period of 21 years, of life in this important Newfoundland outport community throughout almost the entirety of this formative period. When combined with his cases in Ferryland’s Court of General and Quarter Sessions during this time, what emerges is an incomparably rich picture of a vibrant 19th century Newfoundland community.

A Ferryland Merchant Vol 2 - Part 2$57.50 HST Inc.

A Ferryland Merchant – Magistrate: The Journal and Cases of Robert Carter, Esq. J.P. 1841-1852 Vol. 2

Professor Jerry Bannister of Dalhousie University writes in his Introduction to Volume II:
“With the publication of the Volume Two of the journal of Robert Carter, the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador has made a wonderful contribution to our knowledge of the province’s history and culture. As with Volume One, the editors have done an outstanding job in producing a book that is at once scholarly and accessible to the general reader. By publishing an unabridged version of the journal up to 1852, they have given us the remarkable ability to trace Carter’s life and career longitudinally, and to make direct comparisons across different eras in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is no small feat, and we are all in their debt. My advice to readers is simple: plunge in and immerse yourself in a world that is at once foreign and familiar, though keep in mind the Law Society is not responsible for hours lost in pleasurable reading.”

Prowses Front Cover (7 x 8)$26.40 HST Inc.

D. W. Prowse’s Manual of Magistrates in Newfoundland (1877)

This new printing of D.W. Prowse’s 1877 Manual for Magistrates makes available to the Bar and to the public one of the ‘classics’ of Newfoundland’s 19th century legal literature. The reprint is based on Sir James Spearman Winter’s (# 52 on the Roll of the Law Society) copy of the original, of which only 100 were ever printed. The original is now extremely rare. The book is accompanied by an introductory essay by the editors and by an array of related photographic illustrations from the period. This printing is a limited print run.

Copies are available from:

The SS Daisy Legal History Committee
The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
196-198 Water Street
P.O. Box 1028
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5M3
Tel: 709-722-4740

Complete sets (with the Newfoundland Law Reports 1947-1949) may be purchased from the SS Daisy Legal History Committee at a cost of $232.50 (HST included).
Purchases may be made by cash, cheque, or money order.


Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Law Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador