The Ontario government has awarded the 2021 David Walter Mundell Medal for excellence in legal writing to Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Philip Girard.
Girard is one of Canada’s preeminent legal historians. His extensive work, including many important books, has made a significant contribution to scholarship in Canadian legal history.
His most recent book, co-authored with University of Toronto law Professor Jim Phillips and Saint Mary’s University history Professor Blake Brown, is A History of Law in Canada, vol. I, beginnings to 1866 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society, 2018), which received a Walter Owen Prize from the Foundation for Legal Research and honourable mention for the Wesley Pue Canadian Law and Society Association Prize. This is the first synoptic overview of the history of law in Canada that takes readers through the development of the three streams of Canadian legal traditions: Indigenous legal orders, civil law and common law. Other publications include Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society, 2011), winner of the Clio-Atlantic Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association; and Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society, 2005) for which he was awarded the Champlain Society’s Floyd S. Chalmers Award 2006, for best book published on Ontario history in previous year, and shortlisted for the John A. Macdonald Prize 2006, for best book published on Canadian history in 2005.
He is also editor with Phillips of two collections on Nova Scotia legal history: The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle (2004), and Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Volume III, Nova Scotia (1990), both published by the University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society. Girard is the author of numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters. Girard serves as the associate editor-in-chief to the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.
Established in 1986 by former Ontario Attorney General Ian Scott, the Mundell Medal honours the memory of David Walter Mundell, a renowned constitutional lawyer and the first director of the ministry’s Constitutional Law Branch.