The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry

R. Roy McMurtry,1932-2024, was the former chief justice of Ontario (1996-2007) and Canadian high commissioner to the United Kingdom (1985-1988). He is counsel at Gowlings. He was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1975 after practicing as a trial lawyer for 17 years, and served as attorney-general under Premier William Davis. Mr. McMurtry founded the Osgoode Society in 1979 to promote and recognize the writing of Canadian legal history.

As Attorney General, Mr. McMurtry argued authoritative constitutional cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, and influenced the negotiations leading to patriation of the Constitution with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 2008, Mr. McMurtry was inducted into the Order of Ontario, and in 2009, he was appointed an Office of the Order of Canada. Mr. McMurtry has received numerous awards, including the 2007 Osgoode Hall Law School’s Award of Excellence (the Robinette Medal) in recognition of his significant contributions to the legal profession, two awards from the Canadian Bar Association, the 2009 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law in recognition of his contributions to legal scholarship in Canada, and the 2009 Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Conference Ally Award for achievements advancing the cause of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History was created in 2007 on the occasion of his retirement to celebrate McMurtry’s contribution to Canadian legal history.


Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Books

Memoirs and Reflections (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and the University of Toronto Press, 2013).

Essays in the History of Canadian Law: Volume X – A Tribute to Peter Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 2008), 471 pp. (editor with Jim Phillips and John T. Saywell).

Oral Histories

  • R. Roy McMurtry, 1999

  • R. Roy McMurtry, 2008