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HIST 277 (11)

European Law and Legal Practice in the NA Colonies

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University of Waterloo
HIST 277
Catherine Briggs

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 Monday, September 23, 2013 HIST 277 – Lecture Two European Law and Legal Practice in the North American Colonies, 1600-1800 English Criminal Law and N.S. - N.S. receives English law, 1749 - Criminal Law – means of social control - Principle of retribution as deterrence - Centrality of capital punishment - Establishment of Court system including rural areas by 1774 N.S. Criminal Code, 1758 - Establishment of the legislature, 1758 - Enacts extensive statutes of law - “Treasons and Felonies Act” – replaces English law - Significant deviation from English Law on Capital offences - Why? – Rejection of the death penalty? o Studies show there’s reluctance to convict to a capital offence leading to execution if jury are the people of the community o Rejection of using death penalty for social control N.S. and Marriage/Divorce Law - English Marriage Law - 1758: “Act concerning marriages and divorce…” o Provided for divorce on grounds of adultery, cruelty, impotence, bigamy, consanguinity within prohibited degrees o N.S. omits cruelty (under certain circumstances)  Not against the law for spousal abuse, however, there’s a line suggesting unacceptable violence o Adultery is a criminal offence in N.S. - Why? – Colonial conditions and culture o If marriages aren’t functioning properly, it may be dissolved to form new marriages that do contribute to family stability o Independence and rebellious spirit against mother country  Desire to govern themselves in extensive ways different  Reject some ideas, finding hypocrisy in the English colonies Marriage and Family Law in N.F. (“New France” – Quebec) - French Civil Law (custom of Paris) imposed on N.F. in 1664 - Regulation of Family in Law: o Status of women – woman are losing their independence as a legal and economic person to their husband (inferior to husband in all ways) o Property law – “community of property” under full control of the husband, but must act on the best behalf of the family as a whole o Separation – when family is not functioning properly - Royal gift – incentive – usually money, for people to marry Wednesday, September 18, 2013 Monday, September 23, 2013 HIST 277 – Lecture Two - Why marry? Women don’t have much property to control - Inheritance law: property law goes to the eldest son and is legally to support the widow and family, but women has the legal provision of “endowed right” to have her property in the marriage prior, to be hers but must stay within the family Family Law in N.F. - Dysfunctional families an the law - Family violence - Husbands right of “correction” o Caption: “who loves well, punishes well” - Separation in cases of abuse o Abuse as grounds only when it disrupts family stability o Limits on violence:
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