Dalhousie Law Journal


Lawyers, Courts, Regulatory State, Dalhousie Law School, lawyers, England, United States, Canada, watershed


In 1883, when Dalhousie Law School was created, lawyers in England, the United States, and Canada stood at the edge of a watershed. Massive changes in the law began during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - changes in doctrine, institutions, practice, and ways of thinking. I cannot imagine how I might describe these changes in one short paper, even if I understood them all. Instead, I have chosen to talk about one large strand, regulation, because it is an important feature of law in the twentieth century and because it offers an opportunity to consider some distinctive characteristics of our Canadian legal experience. My primary interest is the thinking of the common law lawyers - judges, practioners, and academics - and especially their thinking about the ideal form of their legal system and about regulation, in particular the relation between courts and agencies and the constitutional legitimacy of regulatory power. My topic is massive, and I can hope only to present some suggestions and an agenda for future work.