Judicial Auxiliaries Across Legal Regimes: From New France to Lower Canada

Type of resource
Judicial Auxiliaries Across Legal Regimes: From New France to Lower Canada
The author examines the rapid changes in formal legal regimes and structures in Quebec/Lower Canada between the Conquest of 1760 and the Constitution Act of 1791, and how these changes and admixtures in legal regimes affected the everyday routines of ordinary justice. Following military rule (1759-1764), the constitutional and public law of France was replaced by that of England, including the criminal law and the anti-Catholic penal laws. The courts were dramatically remodelled, and new British institutions and offices were introduced, such as the jury and the coroner. Civil law was upended: the pre-Conquest French law, based in large part on the Coutume de Paris, was maintained during the military régime, then in 1764, in theory replaced by English common law, and then restored in 1775 by the Quebec Act, which also removed the Catholic disabilities and confirmed the reception of English criminal law. The whole was confirmed by the Constitutional Act of 1791, which created the colony of Lower Canada out of part of the old province of Quebec, but left the legal system largely intact. The author argues that changes after the Conquest, though quite real, were less dramatic for ordinary citizens than formal transformations might suggest.
Book Title
Entre justice et justiciables: les auxiliaries de la justice du Moyen Âge au XXe siècle
Presses de l'Université Laval
Fyson, Donald. “Judicial Auxiliaries Across Legal Regimes: From New France to Lower Canada.” In Entre Justice et Justiciables: Les Auxiliaries de La Justice Du Moyen Âge Au XXe Siècle, edited by Claire Dolan, 383–403. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005. http://www.profs.hst.ulaval.ca/Dfyson/Auxiliaries.pdf.
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