The Heiress Vs the Establishment

The Heiress Vs the Establishment

Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice

Book - 2004
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In 1922, Elizabeth Bethune Campbell, a Toronto-born socialite, unearthed what she initially thought was an unsigned copy of her mother's will, designating her as the primary beneficiary of the estate. The discovery snowballed into a fourteen-year-battle with the Ontario legal establishment, as Mrs. Campbell attempted to prove that her uncle, a prominent member of Ontario's legal circle, had stolen funds from her mother's estate. In 1930, she argued her case before the Law Lords of the Privy Council in London. A non-lawyer and Canadian, with no formal education or legal training, Campbell was the first woman to ever appear before them. She won.

Reprinted here in its entirety, Campbell's self-published account of her campaign, Where Angels Fear to Tread, is an eloquent first-person view of intrigue and overlapping spheres of influence in the early-twentieth-century legal system. Constance Backhouse and Nancy Backhouse provide extensive commentary and annotations to lluminate the context and pick up the narrative where Campbell's book leaves off. Vibrantly written, this is an enthralling read. Not only a fascinating social and legal history, it's also a very good story.

Publisher: Vancouver : Published for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by UBC Press, c2004
ISBN: 9780774810524
Branch Call Number: 346.713052092 Campb-B 3558
Characteristics: xxii, 321 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm


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bwortman Mar 28, 2013

An intriguing case in legal history, this book reprints Mrs. Campbell's self-published work about her case, Where Angels Fear to Tread, with a prologue and epilogue by the Backhouse sisters (one a lawyer and the other a doctorate in law history). The prologue and epilogue provide excellent context for Mrs. Campbell's story and also discuss some of the major questions that rise out of the case. Mrs. Campbell's work itself is an engaging read as she chronicles her case from court to court in Ontario until taking her appeal to the Privy Council where she was ultimately victorious. Heavily annotated with in-depth end notes (be warned, there will be a lot of flipping to the back with this book) that add significant insights to the text, I found this to be a fascinating piece of Canadian history.

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