Dalhousie Law Journal


courts, Canada, context, political, social, cultural, economic, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, legal history, Dartmouth, Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation


Scholars have often demonstrated that courts in Canada have long been responsive to the political, social, cultural and economic contexts in which they operate. An illustration of the ways in which the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia embodied this role can be found in the Court's handling of a dispute between the Town of Dartmouth and the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax, often referred to as the "Dartmouth Schools Question" in 1939 and 1940 The case concerned the attempt of the Town of Dartmouth, alone among municipalities in Nova Scotia, to collect local taxes on property used for Catholic schools This article argues that the justices of the Supreme Court. who represented a diversity of political and religious interests, consciously crafted a compromise solution, which had eluded municipal and provincial authorities, to a contentious issue that threatened the religious and social peace of the province.

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