Debt and Federalism

Debt and Federalism

Landmark Cases in Canadian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law, 1894-1937

Landmark Cases in Canadian Law

by Thomas Telfer and Virginia Torrie

Published by: UBC Press

208 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 0.00 mm, 7 photographs, 3 tables

  • ISBN: 9780774867290
  • Published: October 2021


The legal meaning of bankruptcy and insolvency law has often remained elusive, even to practitioners and scholars in the field, despite having been enshrined in Canada’s Constitution since Confederation. Federal power in this area must be measured against provincial jurisdiction over property and civil rights, among others. Debt and Federalism traces changing conceptions of the bankruptcy and insolvency power through four landmark cases that form the constitutional foundation of the Canadian bankruptcy system: the 1894 Voluntary Assignments case, Royal Bank of Canada v Larue in 1928, the 1934 Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act Reference, and the 1937 Farmers’ Creditors Arrangement Act Reference. Together, these decisions ultimately produced the bedrock for modern understandings of bankruptcy and insolvency law. Thomas G.W. Telfer and Virginia Torrie draw on archival and legal sources to analyze the decisions from a historical and doctrinal perspective. This astute book demonstrates that the legal changes introduced by these landmark cases underpin contemporary bankruptcy and insolvency law and scholarship.