One hundred fifty years of common law in Alberta

We are come to the sesquicentennial of what is known as the reception of English common law in Alberta—and indeed also in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. Statutes have established 15 July 1870 as the date on which English law took effect in all six of these jurisdictions.

English law actually took effect much earlier—in some places perhaps as long ago as 1670, when the British colonial power appointed the Hudson Bay Company to govern much of the area. In practice, however, the Hudson Bay Company did little to impose English law until the nineteenth century. Since there was no clear date when English law was received, statutes arbitrarily fixed the date at 15 July 1870, the day when Manitoba was established as a province.

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