Viscount Haldane: 'The Wicked Step-father of the Canadian Constitution'
Viscount Richard Burdon Haldane was a philosopher, lawyer, British MP, and member of the British Cabinet during the First World War. He is best known to Canadians as a judge of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (Canada's highest court of appeal until 1949), in which role he was extremely influential in altering the constitutional relations between the federal parliament and the provincial legislatures.
Chafing under the British North America Act of 1867, which provided for a strong central government, the provincial governments appealed to the Judicial Committee and were successful in gaining greater provincial legislative autonomy through the constitutional interpretations of the law lords. In Viscount Haldane, Frederick Vaughan concentrates on Haldane's role in these rulings, arguing that his jurisprudence was shaped by his formal study of German philosophy, especially that of G.W.F. Hegel. Vaughan's analysis of Haldane's legal philosophy and its impact on the Canadian constitution concludes that his Hegelian legacy is very much alive in today's Supreme Court of Canada and that it continues to shape the constitution and the lives of Canadians since the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Series: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
- World Rights
- Page Count: 336 pages
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.1in x 9.3in
Reviews‘Viscount Haldane is a meticulous examination of Haldane’s role in reworking Canadian federalism and of Hagel’s influence on Haldane’s jurisprudence… A thought-provoking biography.’
The Historian, vol 74:03:2012
'Frederick Vaughan's deeply interesting biography of Viscount Haldane combines a fascinating account of the man's upbringing and personal life with an accessible depiction of his philosophic views and political achievements. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.'
Jennifer Smith, Department of Political Science, Dalhousie University
Author InformationFrederick Vaughan is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph.
Table of contents
- Home and School for the Mind
- The University of Edinburgh and the Seeds of German Philosophy
- The Practice of Law and the Bar of London
- From the Inns of Court to the War Office.
- Haldane in the School of the Master
- Haldane in the Shadow of Lord Watson
- Haldane and the Reign of Sittlichkeit
- In the High Court of Hegel
- The State and the Reign of Relativity.
- The Supreme Tribunal of the Empire.
- Recollections and Last Days
Postscript: The Hadlane Legacy and the Modern Court
Subjects and Courses