Marlys Edwardh

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Marlys Anne Edwardh, CM (born 6 March 1950) is a Canadian litigation and civil rights lawyer of international reputation, recognized for upholding the causes of justice and the rights of the wrongfully accused.[1] She was one of the first women to practise criminal law in Canada.[2]

She graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of California, a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Carleton University, and an honorary Doctorate in law from the Law Society of Upper Canada. She was called to the bar in 1976.

Edwardh has been involved in numerous high-profile Canadian criminal cases:

Some of Edwardh's more recent high-profile cases include representing Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Zeki Mahjoub, detained under highly controversial security certificate legislation, and Ronald Smith, a death penalty case involving complicated administrative and constitutional law.[5][6] Other clients include the National Post newspaper on a case waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding freedom of the press and the right to protect confidential sources.[7]

Edwardh rarely holds press conferences and is known to be generally reluctant in granting interviews. She was quoted as saying in 2002 that “a lot of the cases I take on, by their nature, generate coverage, but I draw the distinction between personal publicity, which I do not seek, and publicity for the cases I take on that I think have real importance and so attract attention.” [8]

From 1976 to 2008 she was a partner with the law firm of Ruby & Edwardh (with Clayton Ruby) in Toronto, Ontario. In 2008 she formed her own firm, Marlys Edwardh Barristers, and has since joined the partnership of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP.

In 2005 she was the first recipient of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Vox Libera award.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Civil Rights Lawyer Chosen for New Free Expression Award". Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. 23 September 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Speech by Marlys Edwardh" (PDF). The Law Society of Upper Canada. 2002-02-12. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  3. ^ Austen, Ian (2006-09-19). "Canadians Fault U.S. for Its Role in Torture Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  4. ^ Martin, Robert Ivan (2005). Most Dangerous Branch. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7735-2917-5. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  5. ^ "Harper's clemency comments simply political messaging: Government lawyer". Canwest News Service. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Harper government abruptly abandoned Canadian on U.S. death row, court told". The Canadian Press. 2008-09-30. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  7. ^ "Journalists must be able to protect their sources". The Montreal Gazette. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  8. ^ "Carlton University Alumni Profiles". Carlton University. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  9. ^ Governor General announces 74 new appointments to the Order of Canada