David Bell


Law, Faculty of

Ludlow Hall 204


1 506 453 4721

Research interests

  • constitutional/legal/political/religious history of the Maritime provinces in the 18th & 19th centuries
  • settler attitudes to aboriginal rights in the 19th-century Maritimes
  • legal history of slavery in New Brunswick
  • history of Canadian legal education
  • law of charitable trusts


After private practice and lecturing in History and Law, David Bell, BA (Queen’s), MA (Queen’s), LLB (UNB), LLM (Harvard) joined the Faculty on a regular basis in 1985. He also taught law for many years at the graduate level at Université de Sherbrooke. He is former president of the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers. In 2018–19, he received UNB Law’s Teaching Excellence Award. His current book project is editing a journal set in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Lower Canada during the War of 1812.

Professor Bell serves as chancellor (legal officer) for the diocese of Fredericton and recently completed his second appointment as adjudicator in the New Brunswick Small Claims Court. He is a member of a number of advisory boards, including the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. He co-moderates the listserv for Anglican/Episcopal world history.

Books and independent imprints

  • American Loyalists to New Brunswick: The Ship Passenger Lists (2015)
  • Loyalist Rebellion in New Brunswick: A Defining Conflict for Canada's Political Culture (2013) finalist for Atlantic scholarly book of the year
  • The Law Society of New Brunswick: An Historical Sketch (1999); also published as Le Barreau du Nouveau-Brunswick: Esquisse Historique (1999)
  • Henry Alline and Maritime Religion (1993); also published as Henry Alline et la Religion des Maritimes (1993)
  • Legal Education in New Brunswick: A History (1992)
  • Guide to the Legal Manuscripts in the New Brunswick Museum (with E. Carol Rosevear) (1990)
  • The Newlight Baptist Journals of James Manning and James Innis (1984)
  • Early Loyalist Saint John (1983) recipient, Canadian Historical Association regional history award, 1985; recipient, American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit, 1986

Journal articles and chapters

  • “The Lady Music Teacher as Entrepreneur: Minnie Sharp and the Victoria Conservatory in the 1890s”, (2016) 191 BC Studies 85-110
  • “Bargaining for Contract Academic Staff at English Canadian Universities” (with J.M. Hughes) in Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, vol 18/3 (2015), 377-94
  • Slavery and Slave Law in the Maritimes (with J.B. Cahill & H.A. Whitfield) in B. Walker (ed), African Canadian Legal Odyssey: Historical Essays (2012), 363-420
  • Petticoat Apostle: The Preaching Adventures of Susannah Lynds McCurdy, in S. Henderson (ed), New England Planters in the Atlantic World, 1759-1830 (2012), 257-68
  • Slamming the Door on Brains: Two Early 20th-Century Law Schools and the Narrowing of Educational Opportunity, in C. Backhouse & W. Pue (eds), The Promise and Perils of Law: Lawyers in Canadian History (2009), 31-48
  • "A Commercial Harvesting Prosecution in Context: The Peter Paul Case, 1946", (2006) 55 UNB Law Journal 86-104