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Iris Fischer

Select Experience
  • As lead counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada, successfully represented Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and its Chief Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan in a precedent-setting case on openness and privacy, relating to unsealing the Barry and Honey Sherman estate court files for public view

  • Representing Belinda Stronach in various trust/commercial litigation matters

  • Representing clients on government investigations by a range of regulators/authorities

  • Conducting international anti-corruption investigations for multinational clients

  • Represented coalition of major Canadian media in application to unseal search warrant material in the police investigations that led to charges against Bruce McArthur

  • Represented an access-to-information applicant at the Ontario Court of Appeal, where the court affirmed the right to access names of doctors billing the public health-care plan

  • Represented a media applicant in a successful constitutional challenge to laws restricting access to tribunal records

  • Co-counsel in class action defence involving several prescription medicines

  • Represented a coalition of U.S.-based media organizations and non-profits in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., where the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a worldwide injunction requiring Google Inc. to globally de-index certain websites

  • Represented the Toronto Star in John v. Ballingall, where the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that an online newspaper is still a “newspaper” for the purposes of the notice and limitation provisions in the Libel and Slander Act

  • Counsel on a current constitutional challenge relating to federalism/Indigenous rights

  • Acted as lead counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, A.B. v. Bragg Communications, involving social media, open courts and privacy rights

Awards & Recognition

Iris has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the following publications:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada - 2020-2022 (Defamation and Media Law)

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada’' Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2021 Edition (Litigation Star - Litigation & Dispute Resolution)

  • Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List, Litigation Star - Canada, 2021

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2021 (Next Generation Partner - Dispute Resolution)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory - 2018-2021 (Repeatedly Recommended in Litigation - Defamation & Media)

  • Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List, Future Star - Canada, 2019 and 2020

  • Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List - Canada, 2018

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2018 Edition (Future Litigation Star - Litigation & Dispute Resolution)

Professional Activities

Iris is a member of The Advocates' Society, Ad Idem (Advocates in Defence of Free Expression)/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Civil Litigation, Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law Sections of the Ontario Bar Association.

Professional Appearances
  • Speaker: Privacy and the Press: The Open Court Principle Post Sherman Estate Case
    A conversation with Kevin Donovan, Chief Investigative Reporter, Toronto Star, Blakes Business Class Webinar, September 10, 2021.
  • Moderator: Managing your stress load and lifestyle to avoid professional burnout
    Women in Law Leadership Forum, September 9, 2021.
  • Speaker: Reimagining Investigations in Pandemic Times
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, November 18, 2020.
  • Speaker: Gathering Evidence and Social Science Evidence
    Key Issues in Constitutional Litigation, Law Society of Ontario Webcast, November 2, 2020.
  • Speaker: Eleventh Annual Bread and Butter Issues in Family Law: Tackling Tort Claims in Family Law Cases
    Ontario Bar Association, Webcast, September 25, 2020.
  • Speaker: The Impact of COVID-19 throughout the World on Investigations
    Lex Mundi Cross-Border Investigations Practice Group Virtual Meeting, June 22, 2020.
  • Speaker: From Incident to Informed Decision-Making: Digging into Internal Investigations
    Blakes Seminar (live-streamed nationally), Toronto, Ontario, November 19, 2019.
  • Speaker: Lex Mundi Cross Border Investigations
    Global Meeting, Dublin, Ireland, September 12, 2019.
  • Panellist: International Communication and Law and Policy Divisions - Law, Policy and International Reporting: Issues of Jurisdiction
    The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Toronto, Ontario, August 8, 2019.
  • Speaker: Privacy Interests in Administration Adjudication After Toronto Star
    IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2019, Toronto, Ontario, May 24, 2019.
  • Speaker: Defences to Defamation: Where we are at in 2019
    Defamation Law 2019: Current Issues + Emerging Trends, Osgoode Professional Development, Toronto, Ontario, April 29, 2019.
  • Speaker: On Demand Primer: Anatomy of a Defamation Case
    Osgoode Professional Development, March 18, 2019.
  • Speaker: Managing Environmental Enterprise Risk
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, November 14, 2018.
  • Moderator: The Cutting Edge of Compliance
    Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, November 15, 2018.
  • Speaker: Defamation Law: Updates and Jurisdictional Challenges
    The Advocates’ Society Fall Convention, Laguna Beach, November 9, 2018.
  • Speaker: Openness of Administrative Tribunals
    Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Montreal, November 2, 2018.
Media Activities
  • Quoted: Sealing orders lifted in Sherman Estate files: SCC
    Article by Elizabeth Raymer, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, June 14, 2021.
  • Quoted: Affront to personal dignity may justify exception to open court principle: SCC
    Article by Ian Burns, The Lawyer's Daily, June 11, 2021.
  • Quoted: Supreme Court unseals Barry and Honey Sherman estate files, paves way for access in Toronto Star legal win
    Article by Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star, June 11, 2021.
  • Quoted: With Sherman decision, the Supreme Court sets a high bar for restrictions on court proceedings
    Article by Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star, June 11, 2021.
  • Quoted: Maintaining a robust compliance program in uncertain times
    Article by Lucy Saddleton, Canadian Lawyer Magazine In-House, April 28, 2021.
  • Quoted: This Bay Street litigator is a stalwart defender of a free press
    Article by Danielle Groen, Precedent Magazine, March 2, 2021.
  • Quoted: The fight to keep the inheritance files of murdered billionaires Honey and Barry Sherman secret
    Article by Adrian Humphreys, National Post, Toronto, Ontario, October 7, 2020.
  • Quoted: Supreme Court hears arguments over whether Barry Sherman’s will should be withheld from public view
    Article by Jacques Gallant, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2020.
  • Quoted: Barry and Honey Sherman’s estate trustees tell Supreme Court that unsealing files poses ‘grave safety risks’
    Article by Jim Bronskill, The Globe & Mail, Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2020.
  • Quoted: Lives of Barry and Honey Sherman trustees at risk if estate documents made public, top court hears
    Article by Mark Gollom, CBC News, Toronto, Ontario, October 6, 2020.
  • Quoted: Barry and Honey Sherman estate case to test Canada’s open court tradition in Supreme Court of Canada hearing
    Article by Kevin Donovan, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, October 5, 2020.
  • Quoted: Driver remains nameless two days after fatal hit and run
    Article by Galen Simmons, The Beacon Herald, Stratford, Ontario, May 14, 2019.
  • Quoted: Project Houston officers investigated murders years before Bruce McArthur arrest: documents
    Article by Sumran Bhan and Rachael D'Amore,, Toronto, Ontario, September 28, 2018.

Admitted to the Ontario Bar - 2006
LL.B., McGill University - 2005
B.C.L., McGill University - 2005

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