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

Detailed Profile

Paul is widely recognized as one of Canada’s pre-eminent trial and appellate counsel. He represents clients in complex commercial litigation and arbitrations, and criminal, competition, tax and regulatory matters, including professional regulation.

Over the past 25 years, Paul has developed a reputation as one of Canada's leading media and constitutional lawyers, arguing many cases before the Supreme Court of Canada. He is regularly sought after for strategic advice involving sensitive reputational issues and has significant experience as a mediator and adjudicator. Paul is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

From 2016  to 2018, Paul was the elected treasurer (president) of the Law Society of Ontario, the governing body for Ontario's 50,000 lawyers. He is the second Blakes partner to have held the position, the first being the Firm’s founder, Edward Blake. 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. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, sits on numerous boards, and writes and speaks frequently on media, constitutional and other legal issues, in Canada and abroad.

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

  • Breeden v. Black (2011) and Haaretz v. Goldhar (2018) – Supreme Court cases dealing with jurisdiction over content on the internet

  • Ongoing litigation for the Toronto Transit Commission over validity of workplace drug testing

  • Two large price-fixing cases under the Competition Act

  • Urgent injunction matters involving misleading advertising, work stoppages and supply contracts

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

  • Complex transfer pricing trial in the Tax Court of Canada

  • International and domestic arbitrations involving royalties, supply contracts and commercial transactions

  • Appeal dealing with “mining claims” under the Ontario Mining Act

  • Several copyright cases


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

  • Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers (2018, 2011)

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2018 (Dispute Resolution, Media and Entertainment)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 (Litigation)

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2018 (Administrative and Public Law, Appellate Practice, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, and Criminal Defence)

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada 2017 (Corporate Commercial, Defamation and Media)

  • Who’s Who Legal: Investigations & Commercial Litigation 2018

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2018 (Litigation - Public Law, Litigation - Defamation & Media, and Litigation - Corporate Commercial)

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 (Dispute Resolution - Ontario)

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – 2018 Edition (Arbitration, General Commercial, Tax, White Collar Crime and Litigation)

  • The 2017 Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (Litigation – Corporate Commercial)

  • Who's Who Legal: Litigation 2017

  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers 2016

He has also received the following recognition:

  • Best Lawyers' Defamation and Media Law Lawyer of the Year for Toronto (2018 and 2011)

  • Best Lawyers’ Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year for Toronto (2016)

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

  • Lexpert Zenith Award: Defamation and Media (2014)

  • Canadian Association of Journalists, President’s Award (2009)

Show Past:
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Co-author: Canada Chapter
The International Comparative Guide to Corporate Investigations, Global Legal Group, London, 2019.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, August 13, 2018.
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.
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Panellist: Implementing Strategies to Combat Discrimination
RODA/OBA 4th Annual Diversity Conference: Accelerating a Culture Shift in the Legal Profession, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, November 28, 2018.
Panellist: Defamation Reform
Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Montreal, Quebec, November 2-3, 2018.
Panellist: FOI and Freedom of Expression
CBA Access to Information and Privacy Law Symposium, Canadian Bar Association, Ottawa, Ontario, October 19-20, 2018.
Panellist: Unraveling the Toronto Star Decision
Transparency, Open Courts and Administrative Tribunals, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, October 17, 2018.
Panellist: Has privacy law run amok? Balancing privacy and free expression in the digital age
International Bar Association, Rome, Italy, October 7-11, 2018.
Panellist: Modernizing the Libel and Slander Act
Defamation at a Crossroads: Trends and Developments, Law Society of Ontario, Toronto, September 14, 2018.
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.
Panellist: Unraveling the Toronto Star Decision
Transparency, Open Courts and Administrative Tribunals, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, October 17, 2018.
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