Legal Interpreters, Law, and Society
Despite racial bars to the legal profession, Chinese immigrants often made the law their instrument through interpreters who acted as informal legal brokers. They were paralegals who served Chinese clients and sometimes other non-white groups. The brokerage relations of these “Chinese lawyers” also illuminate another less visible aspect of legal history, the profoundly integrated nature of Canadian justice. Ethnic dispute resolution processes continually interacted with the formal justice system. David Lew’s murder mystery shows how these legal negotiations helped make the Canadian state a central institution in British Columbia’s early twentieth-century Chinese Diaspora.
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