Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies


Jim Cruickshank


The Court of Chancery in Nova Scotia enjoyed a history that may best be described as a progression from obscurity to infamy. During its first half-century, the Court operated with an intermittent caseload and remained out of the public eye. During its final years, the Court came under increasing public criticism as an unnecessary and inefficient institution. This paper seeks to delve behind these criticisms to ask two questions: what did the Court do and how did it do it? This inquiry into jurisdiction and procedure is undertaken with the criticisms of the Court in mind. Indeed, I hope that an enhanced knowledge of the Court will bring its shortcomings into historical focus. The research for this paper involved an examination of the original case files of the Court, along with various records kept by court officials. From this data base, I have attempted to draw certain conclusions about the Court's internal workings. This is a very narrow focus and I readily concede that at times the analysis will (of necessity) proceed in a historical vacuum. Therefore, the results of this paper can best be characterized as a series of interim hypotheses. The paper begins with an overview ofthe Court ofChancery, based on the work of historians to date. The results of my examination of original court documents follows, separated into jurisdictional and procedural categories. Finally, some conclusions and hypotheses will be drawn and ideas for future research will be suggested.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Law Commons