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 Media & Defamation, June 8, 2018.
Author: Making family laws easier to navigate
Toronto Star Op-ed, April 13, 2018.
Of Counsel Podcast, March 29, 2018.
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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Speaker: Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives – Positively Moving Towards Equality in the Legal Profession
Canadian Defence Lawyers Annual Conference, Toronto, Ontario, June 6, 2018.
Speaker: Recent Developments Affecting the Practice of Advocates: Regulatory and Civil Justice Perspectives
International Association of Defence Counsel, Canadian Regional Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, June 4, 2018.
Speaker: Licensing Reform and other Initiatives
Law Society of British Columbia Benchers’ Retreat, Osoyoos, British Columbia, June 2, 2018.
Panellist: Will the Right to be Forgotten Find Application in the Canadian Context
International Association of Privacy Professionals Canada Privacy Symposium 2018, Toronto, Ontario, May 22-25, 2018.
Panellist: Have we entered a brave new world of global content takedown orders?
Rightscon 2018, Toronto, Ontario, May 16-18, 2018.
Moderator: Will the right to be forgotten come to Canada?
Rightscon 2018, Toronto, Ontario, May 16-18, 2018.
Panellist: Reforming intermediary responsibility: testing a human rights centred framework beyond the liability and immunity divide
Rightscon 2018, Toronto, Ontario, May 16-18, 2018.
Speaker: Frontline Issues: Jurisdiction
Defamation Law and the Internet, Law Commission of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, May 3, 2018.
Keynote Speaker: Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario
Management Training Conference, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, March 2018.
Panellist: Clashing Visions for Control over the Internet
Extra-territorial Enforcement: Developing Norms for the Information Society, Roundtable Discussion, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT, March 2018.
Speaker: Cavanagh LLP Lecture on Professionalism
University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ottawa, Ontario, March 2018.
Moderator: Reconciliation in Practice: How lawyers and the legal system can achieve reconciliation with indigenous peoples
CBA-FLSC Ethics, March 2018.
Panellist: Managing in Times of Change
Leadership Training Forum, Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, Toronto, Ontario, February 2018.
Panellist: Law Society Requirement for a Statement of Principles
Conference on Combatting Hate Speech and Anti-Semitism, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Toronto, Ontario, February 2018.
Panellist: Can Legal Ethics and Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Context Live in Harmony
Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, February 2018.
Panellist: The Impact of social media and the development of the law; Keeping up with times: How to survive and thrive in the Age of Digital Litigation
OBA Annual Institute, Toronto, Ontario, February 2018.
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.
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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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