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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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Petty Justice: Low Law and the Sessions System in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, 1785-1867

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ISBN13: 9781442649910
Published: October 2014
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Country of Publication: Canada
Format: Hardback
Price: £51.99



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Until the late nineteenth-century, the most common form of local government in rural England and the British Empire was administration by amateur justices of the peace: the sessions system. Petty Justice uses an unusually well-documented example of the colonial sessions system in Loyalist New Brunswick to examine the role of justices of the peace and other front-line low law officials like customs officers and deputy land surveyors in colonial local government.

Using the rich archival resources of Charlotte County, Paul Craven discusses issues such as the impact of commercial rivalries on local administration, the role of low law officials in resolving civil and criminal disputes and keeping the peace, their management of public works, social welfare, and liquor regulation, and the efforts of grand juries, high court judges, colonial governors, and elected governments to supervise them. A concluding chapter explains the demise of the sessions system in Charlotte County in the decade of Confederation.

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Subjects:
Legal History, Other Jurisdictions , Canada
Contents:
1. High Law, Low Law, No Law

I. Petty Justices
2. The Trials of David Owen
3. High Noon at Campobello
4. The Empire Strikes Back

II. Doing Substantial Justice
5. In the Woods
6. "Unconnected with Mercantile Pursuits"
7. Hatheway's Civil Docket 1847-67
8. Hatheway's Crown Docket, 1847-67

III. The Sessions System and Its Enemies
9. Called to Account
10. Three Ships
11. The Temperance Magistrates
12. The Sessions System in Decline

Appendices
Reference
Tables
Sources
Statutes
Index
Bibliography
Index of Names
Index of Places
Topical Index