Paul B. Schabas
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-4274

Detailed Profile

Paul is a senior trial and appellate counsel, with experience in a wide range of matters, from complex commercial litigation and arbitrations to white collar criminal, tax and regulatory matters. Over the past 25 years, Paul has also developed a reputation as one of Canada's leading media and constitutional lawyers. He has argued many seminal cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, developing new law in areas such as defamation, free expression, equality rights, access to justice, pensions and tax law. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Paul was recently elected Treasurer (President) of the Law Society of Ontario, the governing body for Ontario's 50,000 lawyers, making him the head of the legal profession in the Province. He is the second Blakes' partner to hold the position, the first being the firm's founder, Edward Blake QC. Paul is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto where he teaches media law. Prior to being elected Treasurer, Paul served as a Bencher (Director) of the Law Society for nine years. Paul is a past-chair of the Law Foundation of Ontario, and a past-president of the Canadian Media Lawyers Association and Pro Bono Law Ontario. Paul sits on numerous boards, and writes and speaks frequently on media, constitutional and other legal issues.

  • Counsel in Grant v. Torstar (2009) in which the Supreme Court adopted a new defence to libel, responsible communication in the public interest

  • Counsel before the Supreme Court in Breeden v. Black (2011), arguing for tighter rules to restrict "libel tourism"

  • Counsel on urgent injunction matters involving misleading advertising, First Nations blockades and a large iron ore supply contract

  • Successfully defended the only criminal charges to arise from the Airbus affair

  • Counsel on a lengthy transfer pricing trial in the Tax Court of Canada

  • Counsel on several international and domestic arbitrations involving royalties, supply contracts and commercial transactions

  • Counsel on major case dealing with mining claims under the Ontario Mining Act

  • Counsel on two lengthy defamation trials in 2013

  • Counsel on a constitutional challenge to workplace safety policies


Paul is consistently recognized as a leading counsel by the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Litigation)

  • Who's Who Legal: Investigations & Commercial Litigation

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (Administrative and Public Law, Appellate Practice, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, and Criminal Defence)

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution Ontario)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (Litigation - Public Law, Litigation - Defamation & Media, and in Litigation - Corporate Commercial)

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Media Lawyers

  • Who's Who Legal: Litigation

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (listed as a National Litigation Star in Arbitration and White Collar Crime)

He has also received the following recognition:

  • Best Lawyers'’ Defamation and Media Law Lawyer of the Year for Toronto (2018)

  • One of "Canada's 25 Most Influential Lawyers" by Canadian Lawyer magazine (2011)

  • One of BTI Consulting's Client Service All-Stars (2015)

  • Lexpert Zenith Award: Defamation and Media (2014)

  • Best Lawyers' Media Law Lawyer of the Year (2011)

  • Canadian Association of Journalists, Presidents Award (2009)

Show Past:
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Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, February 8, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, April 26, 2017.
Co-author: Canada Chapter
International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Investigations, Global Legal Group, March 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Business Crimes Investigations & Compliance, and Litigation & Dispute Resolution, April 25, 2016.
Author: Canada: A middleground on hate speech?
MLRC Bulletin, September 2015.
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Moderator: Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Honouring the Brave
Law Society of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, January 26, 2016.
Panellist: The Truth About Defamation: Current Issues and Recent Decisions
Law Society of Ontario, Continuing Professional Development, Toronto, Ontario, January 18, 2016.
Speaker: Recent Changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct
3rd Annual Professionalism Issues for Business Lawyers, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, October 21, 2015.
Moderator: The New Normal? Media censorship and access to government information in the age of terrorism
International Bar Association Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria, October, 2015.
Panellist: Friends and faux - legal pitfalls in social media
International Bar Association Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria, October, 2015.
Moderator: Speaking to the Public: A Role for Judges
The Cambridge Lectures, Queen's College, University of Cambridge, England, July 6, 2015.
Panellist: Trial by Media
19th Commonwealth Lawyers' Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, April 12-16, 2015.
Speaker: Limited Scope Retainers
Targeted Legal Services: We Are All Pieces of the Puzzle, Law Society of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, May 12, 2015.
Speaker: Opening Statements, "Trial A-Z"
The Advocates' Society, Toronto, April 8, 2015.
Judge: Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition
2015 International Rounds, Oxford University, England, March 27, 2015.
Speaker: Justice for Free Expression Conference
Columbia University, New York City, March 10-11, 2015.
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Interviewed: Court opens door to adding privacy claims to defamation lawsuits
Interviewed by Tali Folkins, Law Times, September 14, 2015.
Quoted: Tax judge's beef opens incivility doors
Article by Jim Middlemiss, Canadian Lawyer, July 2015.
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