The British Columbia Court of Appeal
304 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
105 b&w illustrations
Release Date:15 Mar 2010
Release Date:15 Mar 2010

The British Columbia Court of Appeal

The First Hundred Years

UBC Press
Courts of law at once reflect and shape the society in which they reside and dispense justice. To mark the 2010 centenary of BC’s highest court – the British Columbia Court of Appeal – this book presents an institutional, jurisprudential, and biographical account of the court and its evolving role in the province.

Surveying the court’s history from 1910 to the present, this authoritative history tells the story of how the court came into being, how it has operated, who its judges have been, and how it has shaped – and been shaped by – the social, political, and legal development of the province. Biographical sketches and group portraits of judges based on memoirs, interviews, and other written sources, along with careful explorations of significant and representative cases, help to define each period in the court’s past and reveal much about historical developments in British Columbia and changes in the court itself.

Richly illustrated and engaging, this book is the first comprehensive history of a provincial appeal court and a much-needed addition to the judicial history of Canada. It provides material for comparative studies across Canada and raises questions for British Columbia legal historians to pursue and for scholars, judges, lawyers, and Canadians in general to ponder.

This book raises questions for British Columbia legal historians to pursue and for scholars, judges, lawyers, and Canadians in general to ponder.

Chistopher Moore has written an engaging history of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The personalities of the judges, the problems they confronted, and the context in which they worked all come very much alive. This book provides the reader with a clear picture of the evolution of one of Canada's most important legal institutions. Robert J. Sharpe is a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and co-author of The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood
The book clearly makes a useful contribution to the field of legal history – the British Columbia Court of Appeal is largely untilled soil. And the subject is important: witness the fact that the court’s centenary is also being marked by a conference, a special issue of BC Studies, a video, and a special issue of the Advocate. Hamar Foster, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
This is an original contribution to knowledge of this important judicial institution ... one that ... will increas[e] awareness of our legal institutions and their impact in society. John McLaren, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Christopher Moore is a well-known writer of Canadian history and the author of several works of legal history. His website can be found at


Preface and Acknowledgments

1 The Origins of the Court

2 The Founders’ Court, 1910-40: The Macdonald-Martin Courts

One Case from the 1910s: In Re Munshi Singh

One Case from the 1920s: Attorney General of Canada v. Gonzalves

One Case from the 1930s: R. v. Richards and Woolridge

3 Transition and Growth, 1940-57: The Macdonald-McDonald-Sloan Courts

One Case from the 1940s: Ronan v. Hortin

One Case from the 1950s: Guay v. Sun Publishing Company

4 A Growing Court in a Growing Province, 1958-78: The DesBrisay-Lett-Bird-Davey-Farris Courts

One Case from the 1960s: R. v. White and Bob

One Case from the 1970s: R. v. Miller and Cockriell

5 Justice on a New Scale, 1979-2001: The Nemetz-McEachern Courts

One Case from the 1980s: Rutherford v. Rutherford

One Case from the 1990s: Atley v. Popkum Water Slides Ltd.

6 Toward a Second Century, 2001-10: The Finch Court

One Case from the 2000s: Barbeau v. British Columbia




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