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Abstract from

The Many Meanings of Judicial Independence: Examples from British North America

Jim Phillips is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, cross-appointed to the Department of History and the Centre of Criminology.

This article argues that there will not be an ‘end of turns’, but that the turn to contextual legal history in the 1960s remains the most potent, enduring turn the discipline has undergone. The varying meaning of judicial independence in nineteenth-century British North America illustrates this. It represented and was influenced by grand constitu- tional principle, the struggle for colonial autonomy, local control over public finances, and judicial fear of popular involvement in the removal process. Contextualism and complexity is examined here through the lens of judicial independence in three British North American colonies – the colonists worked within the essential paradigm of the inherited British Constitution.

(2015) 33(1) Law in Context p107

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