Michael Spratt received a B.Sc. (Hon) in Biology and Environmental Science from McMaster University in 2001.  Mr. Spratt was called to the Bar in 2005 after attending law school at Dalhousie University and articling in Toronto at the well known criminal law firm Hicks Block Adams

Michael is a partner at the boutique criminal law firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners.  The firm has thrived since its inception and is regarded as one of Ottawa premier criminal law firms.

Michael has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Ontario Court of Justice and is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a criminal law specialist. Whether before a judge or jury Michael's primary focus is protecting the rights of his clients.  He has successfully litigated cases ranging from simple assaults to complex murders.   

Michael was describe as a ‘brilliant lawyer‘ in Canada’s House of Commons and he frequently appears as an expert witness before the House of Commons and the Senate, providing expert evidence on criminal-law policy and legislation.

In 2018 Michael was awarded a Senate 150th Anniversary Medal for his assistance in helping “craft some of the most complex pieces of Canadian policy and legislation.”

Michael is an award winning blogger and his podcast The Docket (which he co-host with his spouse Emilie Taman) has twice won the prestigious Clawbie award. He is frequent contributor to various publications including iPolitics.ca, the National Post, and the Ottawa Sun

Michael has served as a director of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. He later served as a treasurer, and vice-president, of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. He has been a guest instructor at the University of Ottawa law school, Carleton University, and Algonquin College and has presented at numerous professional education conferences.

Below is a brief summary of some of Mr. Spratt's professional activities:


Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa - DCAO (2005-)

Criminal Lawyers Association - CLA (2006-)


CLA – Board of directors (2009-2011)

DCAO – Executive (Treasurer) (2012-2014)

DCAO - Executive (Director) (2014-2015)

DCAO - Vice President (2015-2016)


CLA Membership Committee (2011)

CLA Legislation Committee (2009-)

CLA Retainer and Professional Responsibility Committee (2010, 2011)

DCAO & Law Foundation – Young Lawyers Conference – Ethics, Civility and Advocacy – Planning committee (2010-2016)

Ottawa Inmate Suit Exchange Program (2013-2016)

Youth Justice Court Committee (2012-2016)

Ottawa Bail Committee (2012-2016)

OPS Joint KGB advisory Committee (2012)


Frequent appearances before committees at the House Commons and Senate


Review: Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers, Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies, v. 13, 2004

DCAO Montebello Conference – Future of the YCJA (2010)

DCAO Montebello Conference – R. v. Hamilton – Dispensing the requirement for technical expertise (2011)

Criminal Lawyers Association Conference: R. v. Johnson – If The Circumstances Justify (Enhanced Credit) (2011)

DCAO Magazine (2012): Dangers of Section 486 Appointment

DCAO Montebello Conference – Defence Hearsay (2012)

iPolitics: November 2013: Walking a razor’s edge in the Senate scandal

iPolitics: November 2013: C-13: A digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state

iPolitics: December 2013: Presumed guilty: DNA and the police

iPolitics: December 2013: Mandatory victim fines: It’s not about justice

iPolitics: January: 2014: One law for the rich, another for everyone else

iPolitics: May 2014: Does the government’s enemies list now include judges?

iPolitics: May 2014: Suddenly, it’s open season on judges

iPolitics: August 2014: The creeping militarization of the police

iPolitics: July 2014: Why didn’t the Mounties charge Nigel Wright? Tactics

iPolitics: August 2014: The creeping militarization of the police

iPolitics: August 2014: The Harper government’s lonely struggle against reality

iPolitics: September 2014: Firing blind: The Harper government’s bungled crime agenda

iPolitics: October 2014: Here come the thought police

iPolitics: November 2014: Secret witnesses? Curtailed cross-exams? The poison pill in the ‘victims’ rights bill’

iPolitics: November 2014: Prison nation: What locking up more people is costing us

iPolitics: November 2014: Franck Gervais did a dumb thing. Should it be a crime?

iPolitics: November 2014: The honour killing bill: Who’s the barbarian now?

iPolitics: December 2014: Protecting victims of crime — by ignoring them

iPolitics: January 2015: You thought your phone was private. You were wrong.

iPolitics: January 2015: Please don’t confuse Peter MacKay with facts

iPolitics: January 2015: When Peter MacKay committed sociology

iPolitics: January 2015: Life behind bars: the politics of despair

National Post: March 2015: Michael Spratt: Conservatives have neither the law nor the facts on their side in the niqab debate

iPolitics: March 2015: Hypocrites in a hurry — Harper’s mad dash to pass C-51

iPolitics: April 2015: ‘Judicial activism’ isn’t killing Harper’s crime agenda — Harper is

National Post: April 2015: Michael Spratt: Don’t expect fireworks at the Mike Duffy trial

Ottawa Sun: July 2015: Cops need new ideas to beat Ottawa's gang issues says lawyer Michael Spratt

OSCAR: July 2015: Getting Smart About Crime

National Post: August 2015: Michael Spratt: The Duffy trial’s ironic twist

Ottawa Sun: August 2015: Ottawa Police Service's board's dismissal of racial data 'a disgrace'

Ottawa Sun: September 2015: Human and financial costs of drug war just too high: Spratt

Ottawa Sun: September 2015: Beefed-up court security a foolish over-reaction

iPolitics: October 2015: Stow that spliff, Canada — you won’t be lighting up legally for a while yet

Ottawa Sun: November 2015: Patrick Brazeau's slap on wrist not right: Defence lawyer

Canadian Lawyer: January 2016: More than sunny ways needed to address mandatory minimums

Canadian Lawyer: February 2016: Think Making a Murderer can’t happen in Canada? Think again

Canadian Lawyer: April 2016: The Criminal Code is a weighty book — literally

Canadian Lawyer: March 2016: Obviously hard to prove

iPolitics: April 2016: The Liberals say they have big plans for criminal law. So where are they?

Canadian Lawyer: May 2016: The ‘Dickensian hellscape’ of our jails

Ottawa Sun: June 2016: SPRATT: Crown bury heads in sand on bail failures

Canadian Lawyer: June 2016: The war on drugs blindly marches on

Canadian Lawyer: July 2016: It’s been 25 years since Askov but little has changed

Canadian Lawyer: August 2016: The thin blue line: police accountability

Canadian Lawyer: September 2016: Cameras in court: Be careful what you wish for

Canadian Lawyer: October 2016: Defence counsel hit hardest by antiquated court processes

CBC: October 2016: The case against cameras in the courtroom

Ottawa Sun: October 2016: Police racism? It’s part of the system

Canadian Lawyer: November 2016: Trudeau’s government should act on promises of justice reform

iPolitics: November 2016: The RCMP needs you scared — and the media seems happy to help

Canadian Lawyer: December 2016: Real change in court system must start with Crown attorneys

Canadian Lawyer: January 2017: Why plea bargains can be a deal with the devil

Canadian Lawyer: February 2017: Conservatives use fear-based politicking to undermine our justice system

Canadian Lawyer: March 2017: Liberals pick only low-hanging justice fruit with Bill C-39

Canadian Lawyer: April 2017: Broken pot promise would send Liberals’ credibility up in smoke

The Lawyers's Daily: April 2017: Silence not the answer to Ottawa's police controversies

Globe and Mail: April 2017: Opinion: Policing the problem of 'us versus them'

Canadian Lawyer: May 2017: Proposed new jails are proof Canada is not upholding UN norms

The Lawyer's Daily: May 2017: Fine line between plain language and inappropriate commentary in judicial decisions

The Lawyer's Daily: June 2017: It’s time to re-evaluate the jury system

Canadian Lawyer: June 2017:  The Ghomeshi rules: Bill C-51 creates unprecedented case of reverse disclosure

Canadian Lawyer: July 2017: Dislike of Khadr settlement does not entitle critics to disregard law or facts

Ottawa Citizen: August 2017: Why decriminalizing all drugs makes sense

Canadian Lawyer: September 2017: Bill C-45 no cure to the ills inflicted through marijuana criminalization

Canadian Lawyer: October 2017: Marijuana bill another example of Liberals’ broken promises

Canadian Lawyer: November 2017: Ontario AG's announcement of new provincial bail directives admission of decades of failure

Canadian Lawyer: December 2017: Criminal defence lawyers need to be included in mental health conversation

CBC: January 2018: The presumption of Innocence is for courtrooms, not politics

The Tyee: January 2018: Loblaws Skates on Price-fixing, Tried to Send Homeless Man to Jail

Canadian Lawyer: January 2018: My predictions for federal justice reform in 2018

Canadian Lawyer: January 2018: Trudeau’s Aga Khan vacation, get ready for Duffy part 2

Canadian Lawyer: February 2018: Blaming shootings on carding decline defies logic

Canadian Lawyer: February 2018: More Tasers, more problems?

Ottawa Sun: February 2018: Spratt: Canada has the opportunity to fix its justice system

Canadian Lawyer: March 2018: Pot bill’s sober second thought

Canadian Lawyer: March 2018: Just say no to the police

Canadian Lawyer: April 2018: Liberal criminal justice reforms a bold betrayal

Ottawa Citizen: April 2018: Why the new justice reform bill, C-75, is anything but just

Canadian Lawyer: April 2018: Apply the principles of the Gladue decision to good character requirements for lawyers

Canadian Lawyer: May 2018: Canada’s extradition process is broken

CBA Law Matters: Spring 2018: Broken Promises on Criminal Justice Reform

Canadian Lawyer: June 2018: Dear soon-to-be-premier

Canadian Lawyer: July 2018: AG Mulroney's big debut is a throwback fail

Ottawa Citizen: July 2018: Spratt: On gun violence, Jim Watson and John Tory shoot from the lip

Canadian Lawyer: August 2018: After Danforth shooting, no solutions just political theatre

Canadian Lawyer: August 2018: Getting to the real root of gun violence

Canadian Lawyer: September 2018: Feds need constitutional remedy on sexual assault intoxication defence

Canadian Lawyer September 2018: Among Premier's influencers and the AG's true role, Mulroney is absent

Canadian Lawyer: October 2018: The Liberals are all vision, no reform

Canadian Lawyer: October 2018: Kavanaugh confirmation sows decades of judicial distrust

Canadian Lawyer: October 2018: After the destructive fool's errand of pot prohibition, expungement now!

Canadian Lawyer: November 2018: Broken promises in C-75

Canadian Lawyer: November 2018: Scheer’s guns and gangs strategy a simple plan for simple minds

Canadian Lawyer: November 2018: Want to help Pro Bono Ontario? Lower your fees

Canadian Lawyer: December 2018: Who is the best fictional lawyer of all-time?

Canadian Lawyer: January 2019: The presumption of innocence is for the court of law, not for protecting the reputations of the powerful

Canadian Layer: January 2019: Don't expect new justice minister to deliver on progressive criminal justice reform

Canadian Lawyer: February 2019: SNC-Lavalin controversy could contain key to Wilson-Raybould's shortcomings

Canadian Lawyer: February 2019: The real scandal in the SNC-Lavalin affair

Ottawa Citizen: March 2019: Spratt and McAleese: Canada’s record suspension system is punitive and must be fixed

Canadian Lawyer: March 2019: Gerald Butts' quarrel with Jody Wilson-Raybould's evidence falls short

Doing Peach the Right Way, Essays in International Law and Relations in Honour of Louise Arbour: March 2019: Intersentia publishing, ISBN 9781780683546

Canadian Lawyer: March 2019: SNC-Lavalin affair raises the issue of the role of former judges

Canadian Lawyer: April 2019: The legality and morality of covert phone-call-recording

Canadian Lawyer: April 2019: Ontario's legal aid cuts leave David unarmed against Goliath

Canadian Lawyer: May 2019: The judicial system can’t withstand political interference

CBC Opinion: June 2019: Ford's cuts to legal aid will end up costing Ontario way more than they save

Canadian Lawyer: June 2019: Canada's treatment of Indigenous peoples fits the definition of 'genocide'

Canadian Lawyer: June 2019: Ontario needs another Leslie Frost, not another Caroline Mulroney

Canadian Lawyer: July 2019: CCTV cameras don't deter crime, so why does Ottawa want them?

Canadian Lawyer: July 2019: More is needed than judicial education for sexual assault law

Canadian Lawyer: August 2019: Brawling in professional sports: A criminal-law perspective

Canadian Lawyer: August 2019: When Legal Aid is a political prop, Access to justice suffers


Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - CML 1105A: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (2019)

Panelist - Canadian Bar Association - Northwest Territories Conference (2019)

Panelist - National Judicial Institute - Criminal Law Seminar (2019)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa Law School - CML 1105C Youth Justice: Theory and Reality (2019)

Panelist - Runnymede Society 2019 Law & Freedom Conference - Debate on the #MeToo movement and its effects on the presumption of innocence (2019)

Panelist - CLA 46th Annual Fall Conference - Legalization of marijuana and what is going to happen moving forward (2018)

Panelist - DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference - Marijuana Legalization: Bill C-45 (2018)

Presenter - DCAO Trial Book CLE - Hearsay Evidence (2018)

Panelist - Ontario Justice Education Network - Youth Police Dialogues (2018)

Panelist  - CLA Spring Conference –  Mental Health: Staying Sane in this Crazy Business (2018)

Panelist - Conference Board of Canada - Mental Health in the Capital (2018)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa Law School - CML1203A: Criminal Law and Procedure (2018)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa Law School - CML3301: Advanced Evidence (2018)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - CML 1105A: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (2017)

Speaker - Criminalization and Punishment Education Project - A Bigger Jail for Ottawa or Community Alternative (2017)

Guest Instruction - Carlton University - SOCI 2450: Criminilogy (2017)

Panelist  - CLA Defence Lawyer Conference –  Marijuana Legislation (2017)

Panelist  - DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference –  Power Imbalances and Ethics in Plea Bargaining (2017)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - CML 1105A: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (2017)

Guest Instructor - Algonquin College - Police and Public Safety Institute (2017)

Panelist - Justice Canada Knowledge Exchange 2017: The criminal justice system’s responses to sexual assault against adults (2017) 

Guest Instructor - Carlton University - SOCI 2450A: Criminology (2017)

Facilitator - Ottawa University School of Law - CML3174W: Dean's Legal Research and Writing Fellowship (2016)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - CML1103: Criminal Law and Procedure (2016)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - CML1203: Criminal Law and Procedure (2016)

Guest Instructor - Algonquin College - 1611X01FWO: Victimology Program (2014)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - 1203F: Criminal Law and Procedure (2014)

Guest Instructor - Carleton University - SOCI 3410B: Challenges Facing Police in the 21st Century (2014)

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - Evidence (2013)  

Guest Instructor - Carleton University - Laws 2301: Criminal Justice System (2013)  

Guest Instructor - Carleton University - Laws 4106: Law and Violence (2013)   

Presenter – DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference: Legislative Update (2013) 

Guest Instructor - Ottawa University School of Law - The Law of Homicide (2013) 

Guest Instructor – Queens University – Trial Advocacy (2013)

Presenter – DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference –  Defence Hearsay (2012)

Guest Instructor - Ukraine Juvenile Justice Reform Project (UJJRP)  (2012)

Presenter – CLA Conference – R. v. Johnson (2011)

Presenter - DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference –  R. v. Hamilton – Dispensing the requirement for technical expertise (2011)

Instructor – Ottawa University ARNUP Moot team (2010/2011/2012)

Guest Instructor – Criminal Trial advocacy (2009-2010)

Presenter – Ottawa University Criminal Law Student’s Association (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)

Presenter – DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference – 2010 – Future of the YCJA

Instructor Ukraine Juvenile Justice Reform Project (UJJRP) – Delegation included: Director of Justice Legislation, Deputy Director of State Department, Supreme Court Judges, and other government officials (2010)

Instructor – Ottawa University Studies in Criminal Law: Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy (CML 4111C) – Cross-examinations (2010)