The hidden date for this stamp can be found on the handle of the gavel.
Law is the foundation upon which every just society is built. Canada's legal system is founded upon the British common-law system, except in Quebec, which retains a civil system for issues of private law. Both legal systems are subject to the Constitution of Canada, from which all Canadian laws formally derive their power.
Law societies govern the legal profession in Canada, and every practicing lawyer in the country is a member of his or her provincial or territorial society. The Law Society of Alberta (LSA) is the society for Alberta's lawyers.
The LSA was created in 1907 with the passing of the Legal Profession Act, but its history is rooted in that of its parent organization, the Law Society of the North-West Territories (LSNWT). The LSNWT, which was formed in 1885 and incorporated in 1898, set forth policies for the practice of law in the North-West Territories. When Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905, the LSNWT split in half to better serve the two provinces, which had separate legislative powers and their own distinct laws. In keeping with its mandate to serve the public interest by promoting a high standard of legal services and professional conduct, the LSA has undertaken a number of initiatives over the years, including an assurance fund, mandatory liability insurance for lawyers, and the implementation of legal aid. As a regulator, the LSA sets standards and enforces those standards for Alberta lawyers.
To commemorate the centennial of the LSA, Canada Post will issue a single domestic rate (52¢) stamp on September 13, 2007. Designed by Xerxes Irani of nonfiction studios inc., the stamp celebrates the rich and diverse history of the legal profession in Alberta.
"The design blends a number of symbols together to reflect many aspects of the Law Society of Alberta and the legal professional in general," explains Irani. "A photograph of James Muir, the society's first president, and a gavel, the universal symbol for law, lie beside three prop books to represent the research and information that are so central to the practice of law."
The spine of the first prop book bears the name of the LSA's first president. The second spine shows the word "Centennial" in French and English, as well as the centenary crest of the LSA. The spine of the third book has the words: The Law Society of Alberta.
"Together, the books, photograph and gavel represent the past and present of the LSA," says Irani. "The images extend past the edge of the stamp boundary to create a sense of continuity, uniting the past and present as one. It also gives the stamp depth, simulating a 3-D effect."
The photograph of James Muir used in the design is from the collection of The Legal Archives Society of Alberta. Other photography is by Jason Stang.
"The official first day cover includes the anniversary cancel and seals, which look as if they've been embossed into the paper, making this issue a fitting tribute to this law society," says Danielle Trottier, manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post.