The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, OC, O.Ont, QC, is a member of Gowlings’ Advocacy Department where he serves as counsel to the firm. The former Chief Justice of Ontario, High Commissioner to Great Britain and Attorney General for Ontario provides strategic counsel to Gowlings’ clients in both the public and private sectors.
Prior to joining Gowlings, Mr. McMurtry practised law as a trial counsel for 17 years before being elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1975. Upon election, he was appointed to the Cabinet of Premier William G. Davis as the Attorney General for Ontario, a position he held until 1985. As Attorney General, he oversaw an unparalleled era of law reform in Ontario including bilingualism in the courts, multiculturalism and family law reform. He was deeply involved in the patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. During that period he also served for four years as the Solicitor General for Ontario.
In 1985, Mr. McMurtry was appointed Canada’s High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Great Britain, a post which he held until 1988. In 1991 he was appointed Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court and then Chief Justice of that Court in 1994. In February 1996 he was appointed Chief Justice of Ontario, a capacity in which he served for more than 11 years until May 30, 2007.
Mr. McMurtry is the founder and President of The Osgoode Society, a body established in 1979 for the writing of Canadian legal history. In May 2008, Mr. McMurtry was appointed the 12th Chancellor of York University.
He is a recipient of the Order of Ontario, is an Officer of the Order of Canada and was awarded the prestigious Law Society Medal in May, 2013.