Defence lawyer Dennis Edney has been appointed distinguished visiting professor in the Faculty of Arts.
Edney earned his law degree from the University of Northumbria in 1987, and has appeared at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the United States Supreme Court. He practices criminal, constitutional and human rights law.
“This year, at the June 2016 convocation, Dennis Edney was awarded an honorary doctorate, and I’m pleased to now welcome him to the academic community as distinguished visiting professor,” said Chris Evans, interim provost and vice president academic. “Dennis will participate in workshops and panel discussions on campus, focusing on professional practice and the Rule of Law."
The recipient of a number of awards and distinctions, Edney holds the National Pro Bono Award (2008) for his commitment to the Omar Khadr case, and the fight for access to justice and human rights. In 2009, the lieutenant governor of British Columbia awarded Edney with a human rights medal for fighting to uphold the Rule of Law without personal gain.
“At Ryerson we encourage students to be changemakers, to face challenges and question the status quo – and with more than 29 years of experience in the legal field, Dennis is all of these things,” said Pamela Sugiman, dean, Faculty of Arts. “While there will be a number of events and opportunities for our community to engage with Dennis, he will also be instrumental in the ongoing law school feasibility study at Ryerson.”
Edney is listed as counsel in various reported cases, and has made multiple appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, most notably R. v. Mills and Canada v. Khadr. He was given leave to file an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rasul v. Bush, and in 2004, was appointed foreign attorney consultant by the U.S. Pentagon to participate in the defence of Omar Khadr.
In 2011, Edney was appointed bencher at the Law Society of Alberta. He also received the honorary title of Queen’s Counsel for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession. Edney was awarded the prestigious Gerald L. Gall award by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human rights (2013), the Winnipeg Citizens Award for his contribution to human rights and justice (2014) and the Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club of Canada (2014). He was named one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer (2015), and received the Friend of the Muslim Community Award (2016).
“I’ve always enjoyed my time in the academic sector, conversing with faculty and the next generation of big thinkers and innovators – students,” said Edney. “Ryerson encourages students to make an impact, and I look forward to hearing their ideas and ambitions for the future.”