Marlys Edwardh, C.M. practises criminal, constitutional and administrative/regulatory law, with an emphasis on civil and human rights and national security litigation. Marlys has been counsel in many leading constitutional cases and high-profile criminal matters. Some of her leading cases are listed below. Marlys appears regularly before all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also served as counsel to and before several Commissions of Inquiry, including the Marshall inquiry, the Krever inquiry, and most recently the Arar inquiry.
Marlys has lectured at both Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, been on the faculty of the Federation of Law Societies’ National Criminal Law Program, and acted as co-director of the professional LL.M. program in criminal law at Osgoode Hall. She continues to be a regular contributor to legal education programs.
Marlys has also served as a Director, Secretary, Treasurer and Second Vice President of the Advocates’ Society, a Director of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, a Director of and subsequently Special Advisor to the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, and a Director and currently Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Marlys’ commitment to social justice and her contributions to the profession have been widely recognized. She has received numerous awards and honours, including the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Award, the Vox Libera award from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Women’s Law Association President’s Award, the Toronto Lawyers’ Association Award of Distinction, Professional Recognition Awards from the Midwifery Education Programme and the Canadian Muslim Network, and the inaugural Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law. Marlys is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
Marlys received her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1976. She also holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Carleton University, a master of laws degree from Boalt Hall, and honorary doctor of laws degrees from the Law Society of Upper Canada and York University.
Some of Marlys’ notable cases include:
• Information Commissioner v. Minister of Transport, Commissioner of the RCMP, Minister of National Defence, and Prime Minister of Canada 2011 SCC 25,  2 SCR 306 - Whether the Access to Information Act extends to departmental documents held in the ministerial officers of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers;
• R. v. Conway,  1 S.C.R.765 - Whether administrative tribunals have the power to grant Charter remedies;
• R. v. National Post,  1 S.C.R. 477 - Whether the Charter guarantee of freedom of expression creates a constitutionally entrenched immunity to protect journalists against compelled disclosure of confidential source;
• Canada (Prime Minister) v. Khadr,  1 S.C.R. 44 - Whether the actions of Canadian officials in interviewing a Canadian child soldier detained at Guantánamo Bay violated his rights under section 7 of the Charter and if so, whether ordering that the government seek his repatriation was the appropriate remedy;
• R. v. Grant,  2 S.C.R. 353 - Whether the accused was “detained” within the meaning of sections 9 and 10 of the Charter, and if so, whether evidence obtained as a result of breaches of those sections ought to be excluded;
• R. v. Truscott (2007), 225 C.C.C. (3d) 321 (Ont. C.A.) - Application for ministerial review of murder conviction (heard and determined as if it were an appeal on the issue of fresh evidence);
• Odhavji Estate v. Woodhouse,  3 S.C.R. 263 - Whether the tort of misfeasance in public office could be made out where police officers involved in a shooting refused to co-operate in an SIU investigation;
• Ruby v. Canada (Solicitor General),  4 S.C.R. 3 - Whether provisions of the Privacy Act that mandate in camera hearings and ex parte representations where the government denies an applicant’s request for access to personal information on grounds of national security or maintenance of foreign confidences are constitutional;
• United States v. Burns,  1 S.C.R. 283 - Whether extraditing an accused without first obtaining assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed violates the accused’s rights under sections 6,7, and 12 of the Charter;
• R. v. Ruzic,  1 S.C.R. 687 - Whether section 17 of the Criminal Code, which limits the defence of duress to circumstances where an offence is committed “under compulsion by threats of immediate death or bodily harm from a person who is present when the offence is committed” is unduly restrictive and violates section 7 of the Charter;
• R. v. Biniaris,  1 S.C.R. 281 - Whether the Crown and/or the accused has a right of appeal from a substituted verdict;
• R. v. Marquard,  4 S.C.R. 223 - Whether opinion evidence given by an expert testifying outside of the area of expertise in which he or she is qualified is admissible;
• R. v. Parks,  2 S.C.R. 871 - Whether sleepwalking should be classified as non-insane automatism resulting in an acquittal, or as a “disease of the mind” (insane automatism) giving rise to the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity;
• R. v. Swain,  1 S.C.R. 933 - Whether the common law rule permitting the Crown to adduce evidence of insanity over and above the accused's wishes violates section 7 of the Charter.