The Vox Libera Award is a new annual award granted to a Canadian who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression and who has had made an important and sustained contribution - at home or abroad - to those same principles.
Marlys Edwardh, a prominent criminal law lawyer and civil rights activist, was chosen to be the first recipient of this new award.
Ms Edwardh has fought tirelessly on free expression issues. She is currently one of the senior counsels representing Mr. Maher Arar at the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Arar.
She also represented former National Post Ottawa reporter Andrew McIntosh, argued on behalf of several Toronto newspapers in defence of their right not to hand over footage of police breaking up an anti-poverty protest, and won a landmark source-protection ruling in the so-called Shawinigate scandal. More recently, Ms Edwardh acted for the family of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi who died in Iranian custody on July 11, 2003.
Marlys Edwardh is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, and received her Masters degree from University of California at Berkeley. She is a partner with Ruby & Edwardh in Toronto. She has served as counsel in a number of Royal Commissions, the latest being the Krever Commission regarding the blood system in Canada. Ms. Edwardh has been honoured with several awards including the Law Society of Upper Canada's medal for outstanding service in 1998, and an honorary doctorate from the society in March 2002. In 2005, Ms Edwardh also received the Award of Distinction from the Toronto Lawyers' Association and the Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law Award from Osgoode Hall Law School.