'The Most Disgusting, Disgraceful and Inequitous Proceeding in Our Law': The Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage in Nineteenth Century Ontario

38 University of Toronto Law Journal 64-108 (1988)

45 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014  

Rosemary J. Coombe

York University

Date Written: 1988

Abstract

This study examines judicial management of the action for breach of promise of marriage in nineteenth-century Ontario through an analysis of reported cases, trial records, and newspaper accounts. This seldom researched area of legal history sheds light on the interplay between cultural ideology and legal developments. Breach of promise of marriage cases elicited much societal attention and often consternation because they challenged widely held attitudes on women’s participation in the legal system. This study also illustrates how judges at the time exhibited a strong commitment to judicial autonomy in the face of contentious juridical gender issues, as these cases often threatened Victorian visions of social order.

Keywords: Women's legal history, Marriage law, Cultural ideology

Suggested Citation

Coombe, Rosemary J., 'The Most Disgusting, Disgraceful and Inequitous Proceeding in Our Law': The Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage in Nineteenth Century Ontario (1988). 38 University of Toronto Law Journal 64-108 (1988). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2463348

Rosemary J. Coombe (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.yorku.ca/rcoombe/publications.htm

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