The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, O.C., 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. Mr. McMurtry, who works out of the Firm’s Toronto office, also provides a full range of dispute resolution and mediation services and has continued his long standing tradition of public and community service.
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 official bilingualism in the courts, family and children law reform, the creation of an Ontario wide legal and clinic system 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 late 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 over 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. To date, the Osgoode Society has published some 84 books and 80,000 pages of oral history.
On January of 2004 Mr. McMurtry was appointed as an Officer of the Merit of France.
On December 20th, 2007 Mr. McMurtry became a recipient of the Order of Ontario.
On July 1st,2009 Mr. McMurtry was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
In May 2008, Mr. McMurtry was appointed as the 12thChancellor of York University.