Osgoode Hall Law Journal


Heather Fisher

Document Type

Book Note


“Opportunities to redress miscarriages of justice or errors in law or procedure are now fundamental to the rule of law, and it is easy to assume the origins of the right of appeal must go right back to the medieval beginnings of the English legal tradition. But in the 1790s, the right of appeal was far from… fundamental.”2 IN 2007 CHIEF JUSTICE OF ONTARIO Warren Winkler realized there was no comprehensive history of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, prompting the commission of The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal, 1792-2013. This book serves as a source of institutional history and as a biographical history of the people who moulded the court.3 Notable historical changes include: the entrenchment of a separate judiciary and executive;4 the opening of the right of appeal to include criminal law;5 and the consideration of human rights and equity in jurisprudence as a result of World War II,6 the Bill of Rights,7 and the Charter.8 Moore tracks the rise of the right of appeal and eventual development of a dedicated appeals court, characterizing its changing culture vis-à-vis its most prominent figure—the Chief Justice. Additionally, each chapter discusses major jurisdictional and structural changes to the court, demographics of the judges and bar of the period, and major cases and procedures. Chapter one focuses on the reformers of 1849, elected on a platform of responsible government, and Hume Blake’s Administration of Justice (Canada West) Bill.9 The right of appeal in Ontario began with Blake’s belief that Canada’s courts needed “to be adapted to Canadian circumstances.”10 Chapter two focuses on Oliver Mowat’s court from 1874-1912, which saw the merging of law and equity11 and the criminal right of appeal in provincial courts.12

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.