University of Lethbridge to honour civil liberties lawyer Marlys Edwardh with honorary degree

The University of Lethbridge is proud to recognize Marlys Edwardh with an honorary degree as part of the 2021 Spring Convocation celebration.

As one of the first female lawyers to practice criminal law in Canada, Marlys Edwardh has changed the landscape of Canadian law and championed civil liberties and human rights through her support of freedom of the press, the rights of the mentally ill and the LGBTQ+ community and the wrongfully convicted. 

Edwardh was born in Lethbridge and graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. A partner with the firm Ruby & Edwardh from 1976 to 2008, she went on to form her own firm and, in 2011, joined Goldblatt Partners LLP, where she worked until her retirement in 2018. In 2010, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. 

The U of L will present Edwardh with a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, at the Chancellor’s Reception on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

Marlys Edwardh

Marlys Edwardh’s career is nothing short of legendary in Canadian law.

She was one of the first female lawyers to practice criminal law in Canada and her defence of human rights, civil liberties and free speech have impacted the Canadian legal system. She fought to overturn the wrongful convictions of Donald Marshall Jr., Guy Paul Morin and Steven Truscott. She has also represented Canadians detained abroad, including Maher Arar and Hassan Diab.

Edwardh’s work on behalf of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system brought to light key fundamental truths. The constitutional principles set out in these cases formed a basis for Supreme Court decisions that have decriminalized medically assisted suicide and activities related to sex work.

Notable among her achievements is serving on several commissions of inquiry. Most importantly, Edwardh was Commission Counsel to the Krever Inquiry, which examined the contamination of Canada’s blood system.