New Exhibition: Hommage à Paul-André Crépeau.

To honour the life and work of the late Professor Paul-André Crépeau (1926-2011) and to commemorate a generous donation of his research archives and private library to McGill University, the Nahum Gelber Law Library opens a new exhibition: Hommage à Paul-André Crépeau.

“Professor Crépeau was one of Canada’s greatest humanists. His penetrating intellect, the depth of his intellectual cultivation, his extraordinary knowledge of Civil Law, his boundless energy, his sound judgement, and his great tact and discretion, all explain why he became a model for several generations of legal scholars and practitioners. Thousands of students cherish life-long memories of their time with Professor Crépeau, as he invited them to immerse themselves in the millennial tradition of the Civil Law as well as its modern and particular expression in Quebec. He remained vibrant with his passion for the law, which he transmitted with so much enthusiasm to his students and colleagues, right to the end of a life devoted to teaching, research, and public service.”

Read the full obituary by former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Daniel Jutras, here:

Building Canada: One Law at a Time. New Exhibition at the Law Library

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, when the British North America Act of 1867 created the Dominion of Canada by unifying the colonies of Province of Canada (Upper and Lower Canada that will later become Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. 

Commemorating the jubilee, the Law Library offers to its visitors a new exhibition, Building Canada: One Law at a Time. The blended-media exhibition highlights statutes and other legislative acts and agreements marking important dates and watershed moments in the process of building the country: creation of the Confederation, process of joining the Confederation by provinces and territories, the relationship with Canadian First Nations, the Constitution, and an official adoption of Canadian national symbols.

The material part of the exhibition features primary documents, books, reproductions of archival documents, and memorabilia.

The exhibition expands into a digital realm paying specific attention to the history of First Nations in Canada and showcasing reproductions of archival documents, photographs, testimonies of the survivors of residential schools, and video materials presented on the digital touch table.


The use of touch-table for this Law Library exhibition is a part of the McGill Library Innovation in Service project. The exhibition was curated by Svetlana Kochkina and Sonia Smith.

Nuremberg Trials Exhibition Goes Digital

exhibit-home

New digital materials have been added to the Law Library exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the International Military Tribunal, the most known and the most important of the Nuremberg Trials. The exhibition includes now digital materials presented on an interactive touch-table.

img_0020

It features archival footage, photo documents, testimonies of the survivors of concentration camps, reproductions of archival documents, and visual materials illustrating Nazi crimes during the Second World War in Europe and the International Military Tribunal itself. You can browse through scanned documents, watch footage taken at the trials, and search through the collections of documents from the Harvard Law School Nuremberg Trials project, United States Holocaust Museum, and many others.

exhibit-slide-2

exhibit-slide-3

The use of touch-table for this Law Library exhibition is a part of the McGill Library Innovation in Service project. The exhibition was curated by Svetlana Kochkina and Sonia Smith.

New Exhibition: Remembering the Nuremberg Trials: 70 Years Later

nuremberg final

New exhibition at the Law Library is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the International Military Tribunal, the most known and the most important of the Nuremberg Trials. The exhibition, curated by Sonia Smith and Svetlana Kochkina, features print materials, books, reproductions of archival documents, and visual materials illustrating Nazi crimes during the Second World War in Europe and the International Military Tribunal itself. We also have a selection of books on the subject that can be borrowed by our users (on the book truck next to the exhibition cases).

About the Nuremberg Trials:

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of 13 trials of accused World War II German war criminals held from 1945 to 1949 in Nuremberg, Germany. The first trial, the International Military Tribunal (IMT), held at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, was prosecuted by the four Allied powers (Great Britain, France, United States, and USSR) against the top leadership of the Nazi regime in 1945-1946.

The defendants, among them Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Julius Streicher and Fritz Sauckel, were charged under three categories of crimes:

  • Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurance.
  • War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war.
  • Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts committed against any civil population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds.

In the other twelve trials held by the United States in the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT) from 1946 to 1949, a variety of Nazi governmental, military, industrial, and professional leaders were prosecuted.

NYT page 1 Evening TelegraphThe post-World War II trials of German and Japanese war criminals were established to create a standard of conduct acceptable in time of war, to try cases of atrocities against humanity, and, most importantly, to document those atrocities so that a permanent historical record would be created. The American legal presence compiled a formal record of the trials consisting of captured German government records, evidentiary material, interrogations, correspondence, memoranda, briefs, and transcripts of the trials. Those involved considered it of paramount importance to preserve this documentation of the trials and of the purposes for which they were held.

The Nuremberg Trial was an early experiment in simultaneous translation. The Charter of the International Military Tribunal stated that the defendants had the right to a fair trial, and that all proceedings be translated into a language that the defendants understood. Because of the trial’s complexities, the subject matter, and the different languages spoken by the defense, prosecution, and the judges, it was decided that using a simultaneous translation system would work best.

The Second World War in Numbers:

The Second World War was the deadliest conflict in human history marked not only by the number of combat only but also by mass deaths of civilians, systematic extermination of people deemed “racially inferior”, death camps, killing of prisoners of war (POWs) on a massive scale, and use slave labor perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborators.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews. Nazi authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived “racial inferiority”: Roma, the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others), or on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. By 1945, the Nazi and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews as part of the “Final Solution,” totaling the number of death to more than 6 million men, women and children. Other victims of Nazi racial policy include some 200,000 Roma. At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the Euthanasia Program. Close to 3 million Soviet POWs targeted as Slavic “sub-humans” were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Nazi forced into slave labor more than 7 million people from almost twenty European countries. Many workers died as a result of their living conditions with mistreatment, malnutrition, and torture being the main causes of death.

Even though an exact number of casualties and victims is still unknown, the total is assessed between 40 and 50 million deaths with almost half of them civilians.  The European countries that suffered the biggest losses were: Poland that lost close to 15% of its population (about 5.8 million deaths (including 300 000 military only), the USSR with about 20 – 18 million deaths (including 7 million civilians) that makes 10% of its population, and Yugoslavia, with 1.5 million deaths (75% of them civilian) or close to 8% of the population.

Germany and Austria combined lost 4.4 million soldiers (with 3.5 million on the Eastern front) and close to 500 000 civilians.

From: Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopédie Larouss, Harvard Law School Library. Nuremberg Trials Project: A Digital Document Collection, and Holocaust Encyclopedia of the USHMM

 

New Book Exhibit: Le droit en images: Faire rire, découvrir et apprendre

correct law and art posterImages and law – the first association between these two words that probably springs into your mind is the copyright law or cultural property law. However, the connection between law and visual art is more complex and manifold: hand-drawn sketches are still used to illustrate trials unraveling in courtrooms; lawyers are one of the most favourite and rather easy targets for the cartoonist around the globe; while legal books, law firms, and law libraries are filled with the stern looking portraits of be-wigged and be-robed judges and barristers…

The upcoming exhibit illustrates yet another facet of the relationship between law and an image: the use of visuals in legal books to illustrate, explain, and discuss law and legal concepts. This tradition dates back to the early days of legal literature, with the lavishly illuminated manuscript of Sachsenspiegel being one of the most known examples. To help you dispel the winter blues and the gloom of your impending mid-terms, the exhibition Le droit en images mostly showcases the books that use the imagery to explain and talk about law in a rather light-hearted and humorous way.

DOC 21 DOC 4

New Exhibition: “Justice, justice shall you pursue”: Jewish Law from Biblical Times to the Present”

Arthur Szyk PosterJewish Law has a history of more than three thousand years. This extended time, can be divided in two main periods: The first broad period begins with the written Torah and ends with the completion of the Talmud. The second broad period is the post-Talmudic period, from the completion of the Talmud until our own day (Elon, Menachem. Jewish law: history, sources, principles).

The Hebrew word “halakhah” is usually translated as “Jewish Law”, although a more literal translation might be “the path that one walks”. The word is derived from the Hebrew root Heh-Lamed-Kaf, meaning to go, to walk, or to travel (Encyclopaedia Judaica).

The principles and rules of Jewish Law are based on the Bible. While some rules are mentioned quite explicitly, others are only implied. All are elucidated in the teachings of the Tanna’im and Amora’im – the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud – and presented systematically in the codes. Thus, over the generations, a comprehensive legal system has developed.

Jewish tradition compares Jewish law to a living tree. As the Torah, the sacred scroll of the Five Books of Moses, is returned to the ark after being read in synagogue services, the liturgy quotes from the biblical book of Proverbs (4:2, 3: 18, 17): I give you good instruction; never forsake My Torah. It is a tree of life for those who hold fast to it, and those who uphold it are happy. Its ways are pleasant, and all its paths are peace. (A Living Tree. Roots and Growth of Jewish Law)

JEWISH LAW EXHIBITION title2The books for this exhibition come from the holdings of the Rare Books and Special Collections, the Nahum Gelber Law Library Special Collections, and the Humanities and Social Science Library.

Among the books presented we find a volume of the Ḥamishah ḥumshe Torah: ketav yad Temani. This is a facsimile edition of 390 copies of a manuscript of the Pentateuch, in accordance with the Yemenite tradition, with the Targum, Tafsir of Saʼadya Gaon and the Collecteana of R. Yaḥya Siani.

A miniature Shulchan Aruch, printed in Venice, in 1574. The Shulchan Aruch, or “Set Table” is a codification of Jewish law composed by Rabbi Joseph Karo in the 16th century. Together with its commentaries, it is considered the most authoritative compilation of halakha since the Talmud.

The book Sefer ha-hinukh: yavo’u vo ha-613 mitsvot, yesod Torat Moshe u-nevuato, was also printed in Venice in the Jewish year 361 [1600 or 1601]. This is an anonymous work on the 613 precepts in the order of their appearance in Scripture, giving their reasons and their laws in detail. The book is mainly based on the Sefer ha-Mitzvot and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides.

IMG_4131One of the centerpieces is The Codex Maimuni: Moses Maimonides’ Code of law: the illuminated pages of the Kaufmann Mishneh Torah. This book, published in 1984 reprints sixty-eight of the most beautiful pages from the illuminated codex of the Kaufmann Mishneh Torah, one of the most outstanding surviving exemplars of mediaeval Hebrew book production.

A surviving example of Das talmudische Recht : auf den verschiedenen Stufen seiner Entwicklung mit dem römischen verglichen und systematisch dargestellt. Sachenrecht by S. Rubin (Wien: Druckerei-und Verlags-A.-G. Ig. Steinmann. 1938). This copy was printed in Viena, in 1938. According to a review written by W. R. Taylor, the author has planned a study of Talmudic law to be embraced in three volumes. The purpose of the project, according to Taylor, was to bring the Talmudic legislation into a scientific arrangement in harmony with modern methods and to institute a comparison of the Talmudic material with the relative parts of Roman law. At the end of each chapter there are extensive notes inclusive of references, citations, and expositions of maxims from the Talmud and the later codes of Maimonides, Asher, and Karo, and from Roman law.

Ioannis Seldeni, De synedriis & praefecturis juridicis veterum Ebraeorum. Londini: Typis Jacobi Flesher: Prostant apud Cornelium Bee …, 1650-1655. John Selden, 1584-1654, was an English jurist and a scholar of England’s ancient laws and constitution and a scholar of Jewish law. In 1650 Selden began to print the trilogy he planned on the Sanhedrin, the assembly of sages that constituted the highest political magistracy of the country.

IMG_4154 IMG_4157This exhibition was planned and organized by Sonia Smith and Svetlana Kochkina, librarians at the Nahum Gelber law Library.

New Exhibit: Annie MacDonald Langstaff

annie_langstaffAnnie Langstaff, née MacDonald, a legal author, feminist, and aviatrix, was the first woman graduate in law in Québec (first-class honours, 1914), who became known because of her litigation against the Québec Bar, where she was denied access to its qualifying exams. To honour her memory the Law Library opens an exhibition featuring a selection of archival materials, including her original diploma, photographs, and grades’ transcripts.

IMG_3299

She was born in 1887 in Alexandria, Glengarry County, Ontario. She came to Montreal, after receiving her Senior Matriculation from the Prescott (Ontario) High School, and worked as a stenographer for Samuel W. Jacobs, K.C., head of the firm Jacobs, Hall, Couture and Fitch, a well-respected lawyer and advocate of Jewish Rights.

IMG_3262 IMG_3261In October 1911, with the encouragement of Mr. Jacobs, she entered the McGill Faculty of Law. She received her B.C.L. in May 1915, graduating with First Class Honours and a prize of $25.00. She ranked fourth in her class of eighteen and led her second year class in Company Law and her third year class in Criminal Law. After Convocation she applied to take the Quebec preliminary Bar examination. This examination was normally taken, by those wishing to study law, three years before presenting themselves for admission to practice and as a preliminary to the university program in law. Mrs. Langstaff, anticipating difficulty in being admitted, chose to complete her law program first, and then to apply for the preliminary examination.

Her application was refused by the Bar and, with Mr. Jacobs as her counsellor, she petitioned the Superior Court for a writ of mandamus summoning the Quebec Bar to show cause why it should not be ordered to grant the application since Mrs. Langstaff met all the statutory qualifications for sitting the examination. At the hearing, Mrs. Langstaff assisted in the presentation of her case. Her petition was dismissed with costs by Mr. Justice Saint-Pierre. (Dame Langstaff v. The Bar of the Province of Quebec (1915) 47 C.S. 131.).

Mr. Justice Saint-Pierre noted that Mrs. Langstaff was “a young woman of good morals and possessed of considerable ability” (p. 145), but his Lordship held that “to admit a woman and more particularly a married woman as a barrister as a person who pleads cases at the bar before judges or juries in open court and in the presence of the public, would be nothing short of a direct infringement upon public order and a manifest violation the law of good morals and public decency” (p. 39). The opinion of Mr. Justice Saint-Pierre caused a public outcry. It was the subject of a number of newspaper headlines and articles. Mrs. Langstaff’s supporters, led by Professor Carrie Derick of McGill, and the members of the Local Council of Women, organized a mass protest against his remarks and decision.

Mrs. Langstaff, still represented by Mr. Jacobs, appealed to the Court of King’s Bench. A hearing was held on 16 September 1915 and arguments were closely covered in the local press. On 2nd November, the Court in a four to one decision (Mr. Justice Lavergne dissenting), affirmed Mr. Justice Saint-Pierre’s decision (Dame Langstaff (Annie Macdonald) v. The Bar of the Province of Quebec (1916) 25 B.R. 11.). Although that was the end of her personal legal battle, she continued to fight by supporting various bills introduced to change Quebec law so as to allow women to practise law. IMG_3265But she was never allowed to write the examination and by the time the law was finally changed, in 1942, a Bachelor of Arts degree had become a prerequisite. Mrs. Langstaff was not prepared at the time in her life to return to formal university studies. Mrs. Langstaff continued her work for the law firm (which she described as “a little secretarial work, a little bookkeeping, and a little law”, McGill Reporter, 11 February 1976).

She was the first woman stenographer employed in a Montreal Criminal Court (Court of Special Sessions, June 1914). She became a successful aviatrix and, on the occasion of Marshall Foch’s visit to Montreal, circled above the city for an hour to the delight of thousands of spectators. She was the author of several articles on family law published in popular women’s journals and of an English-French French-English Quebec Legal Dictionary (1937). She retired from the firm, now known as Phillips and Vineberg, in 1965 at the age of 78. She died on 29 June 1975 at the age of 88.

On September 7, 2006 The Montréal Bar bestowed on Mrs. Annie MacDonald Langstaff a posthumous honour by giving her the Medaille du Barreau de Montréal in recognition of her accomplishments.

Information and text for this blog post were derived from the memorial plaque exhibited in the Annie Langstaff room at the Faculty of Law, McGill University.

Exhibition: In Loving Memory of Hugh Patrick Glenn (1940 – 2014)

To honour the memory of H. Patrick Glenn, Peter M. Laing Professor of Law, who passed away on October 1, 2014, the Law Library opens an exhibition “In Loving Memory of Hugh Patrick Glenn (1940 – 2014)” featuring memorabilia, tributes from the Guest book and a selection of his works, including all the editions of Legal Traditions of the World. Legal Traditions of the World, now in its fifth edition, has been a global success that was awarded the Grand Prize by the International Academy of Comparative Law in 1998.

hpgProfessor Patrick Glenn taught and had research interests in the areas of comparative law, private international law, civil procedure and the legal professions. He was a former Director of the Institute of Comparative Law and in that capacity worked on projects on the reform of the Russian Civil Code and judicial education in China. He was a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the International Academy of Comparative Law and had been a Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Law, a Killam Research Fellow, and a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

In 2006, H. Patrick Glenn received the Prix Léon-Gérin, a prestigious award attributed by the Government of Québec, in recognition of his contribution in comparative law over his career.

In 2010-2011, he held the Henry G. Schermers Fellowship of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law. In 2012, he was elected president of the American Society of Comparative Law.

In November 2014, the Canadian Bar Association (Quebec Division) posthumously awarded him the Paul-André Crépeau Medal  for his contributions to the advancement of international private and commercial law. Read more about Professor H. Patrick Glenn here.

The exhibit was prepared by Svetlana Kochkina, Librarian at the Nahum Gelber Law Library.

New Exhibit: Thought and Action: Fragments of Professor Roderick Alexander Macdonald’s (1948-2014) Life in the Law.

photoTo honour the life and work of the late Professor Roderick Alexander Macdonald who passed away on Friday, June the 13th, the Nahum Gelber Law Library opens a new exhibit: Thought and Action: Fragments of Professor Roderick Alexander Macdonald’s (1948-2014) Life in the Law.

A teacher, first and foremost, Roderick A. Macdonald will be remembered as one of the most important scholars and thinkers in McGill University’s history. He was a mentor and inspiration to generations of students and law professors, and a transformative force at the Faculty of Law, the University, in Canadian society, and in the broader world. Read the full obituary here.

The exhibit was prepared by Svetlana Kochkina, Librarian at the Nahum Gelber Law Library. 

Exhibit in Honour of Professor Rod Macdonald

As of this week, we have a new book exhibition in the Law Library. This display is themed to the symposium The Unbounded Level of the Mind: Rod Macdonald’s Legal Imagination that takes place at the Faculty of Law on 7-8 February 2014. The exhibit features a selection of the texts by Rod Macdonald, written during his career. To mirror the symposium, the exhibit showcases most of the texts that will be discussed over its course and is organized around six symposium’s themes: Kaleidoscopic Federalism, Producing Fairness, Pluralizing the Subject, The Priority of Distributive Justice, Contextualizing Governance, and Pursuing Virtue.

All the texts featured at the exhibit are available in the electronic format at the symposium’s webpage:  http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald-symposium/texts