Edward Greenspan

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Edward Leonard Greenspan
Edward Greenspan.jpg

Edward Leonard Greenspan, QC (born February 28, 1944 in Niagara Falls, Ontario) is a Canadian lawyer and prolific author of legal volumes.[1] He is one of the most famous defence lawyers in Canada, owing to numerous high-profile clients and to his national exposure on the popular Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio series, The Scales of Justice (1982–1989) and television series (1990-1994).

A graduate of University College, Toronto (1965) and Osgoode Hall Law School(1968), Greenspan is the senior partner of the Toronto law firm of Greenspan Partners LLP. He is a vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He is a member of the Quadrangle Society and a Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto. Edward Greenspan became a Queen's Counsel in 1982.[2] In 1991 in Boston Massachusetts, he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Greenspan's work as a criminal defence lawyer has been widely recognized in the form of honorary degrees and medals. In 1999 the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws.[3] He was awarded the G. Arthur Martin Medal in 2001.[4] He received a Doctorate of Civil Laws from the University of Windsor in 2002, Assumption University in 2004 and Brock University in 2012. He was awarded the prestigious Advocates' Society Medal in 2009 [5] and most recently the highest honour to be bestowed on an Ontario Lawyer, the Law Society Medal.

A Canadian of Jewish heritage, Greenspan has been a vocal supporter of Israel and related issues. On October 10, 2002, he and fellow Toronto lawyer David C. Nathanson published an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency should recognize the Magen David Adom as a charitable organization.

Mr. Greenspan suspended his practice for three months in 1986 in order to travel Canada to debate in any forum available the return of the death penalty.[6] The fight against capital punishment was won in Canada and the publicity brought to the issue by the involvement of Mr. Greenspan in the debate cannot be discounted.[7]

Mr. Greenspan has been partners with some of the most accomplished lawyers in Canada. Mr. Greenspan’s former partners include: Michael Moldaver (Supreme Court of Canada Judge) and Marc Rosenberg (Judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal).

He is the brother of Brian Greenspan, also a well-known Canadian lawyer.


Among Greenspan's many famous clients have been:


Greenspan has published or edited over twenty-five books. Below are just a few titles:

  • Greenspan, The Case for the Defence. Autobiography, co-written with George Jonas.
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights Canada Law Book, 1982-
  • Counsel for the Defence: the Bernard Cohn Memorial Lectures in Criminal Law Irwin Law, 2005.
  • The Criminal Procedure and Practice. Toronto: Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 1976- (many later editions).
  • The Dubin Lectures on Advocacy, 1998-2002. Canada Law Book, 2004.
  • Martin's Annual Criminal Code. Toronto: Canada Law Book, [1955] (editor since 1978)
  • Martin's Related Statutes (editor since 1980)
  • Perspectives in Criminal Law: Essays in Honour of John L. J. Edwards, edited by Anthony N. Doob and Edward L. Greenspan. Canada Law Book, 1985.