Most of the laws in use in Alberta were enacted by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta or the Parliament of Canada. However, some of the laws still in use in Alberta were enacted by the Parliament in England before Alberta became a province. English laws came to apply in Alberta under a legal doctrine known as reception, which assumed that newly colonised lands were lawless and provided a method to establish an entire legal system.
The Alberta Act established Alberta as a province and set July 15, 1870 as the reception date for Alberta. This meant that English laws made before that date could be applied in Alberta, But also that laws made in England after that date would not apply in Alberta.
ALRI’s research shows that there were more than 300 laws made by the Parliament in England that became law in Alberta in 1870. One hundred and fifty years later, most of these are no longer relevant to the life and economy in modern Alberta, but some are still used a lot and can be a trap for the unwary. ALRI’s English laws project focuses on those laws that are still in use and what can be done to make them easier to access or to replace them with new Alberta laws.