Portrait of Michael Spratt leaning on metal railing in front of industrial building

Biography

Michael is a certified criminal law specialist and partner at the boutique criminal law firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners. He received a B.Sc. (Hon) in Biology and Environmental Science from McMaster University in 2001.  He was called to the Bar in 2005 after attending law school at Dalhousie University and articling at one of Toronto’s premier criminal law firms.

Michael is a certified criminal law specialist and partner at the boutique criminal law firm Abergel Goldstein & Partners. The firm has thrived since its inception and is regarded as one of Ottawa go-to 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.

Michael has been described 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 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.”

In 2020 and 2021 Michael was named to the exclusive Best Lawyers list as a criminal law specialist. Michael was also selected as one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in 2020 by the prestigious publication Canadian Lawyer.

Michael is an award winning writer and his podcast The Docket (which he co-host with his spouse Emilie Taman) has won numerous awards including the Canadain Law Blog’s top Fodden Award.

Michael is a regular columnist at Canadian Lawyer Magazine and is frequent contributor to various publications including, iPolitics, the National Post, the Ottawa Sun, the Ottawa Citizen, and the CBC.

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:

Memberships

Law Society of Ontario (2005-)

Criminal Lawyers Association – CLA (2006-)

Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa – DCAO (2005-)

Boards

DCAO – Vice President (2015-2016)

DCAO – Executive (Director) (2014-2015)

DCAO – Executive (Treasurer) (2012-2014)

CLA – Board of directors (2009-2011)

Committees

CLA Legislation Committee (2009-)

100 Interns mentor 2020-2021

Supervising Lawyer Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) 2019-2021

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)

CLA Membership Committee (2011)

CLA Retainer and Professional Responsibility Committee (2010, 2011)

Awards and Recognition

2021 Best Laywer

2020 Clawbies Hall of Fame Inductees

2020 Best Laywer

2020  Canadian Lawyer Magazine: Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers

2018 Senate 150th Anniversary Medal

2018 Fodden Award for Best Canadian Legal Blog

2017  Canadian Law Blog Awards

2016 Canadian Law Blog Awards

2014 Canadian Law Blog Awards

Teaching/Education

Guest Lecturer – Algonquin  College Police Foundations Program – Canadian Justice System  (2021)

Guest Lecturer – Ottawa District School Board – Career Connections (2021)

Capital Cup – Moot Judge (2021)

Guest Instructor – Algonquin College –  Victimology Program (2020)

Panelist – Policing The Pandemic in Ottawa: Impacts and Alternatives – Criminalization Punishment Education Project (2020)

Panelist – Inside Ottawa’s Jail – Criminalization Punishment Education Project (2020)

Panelist – DCAO/CCLA Defence Lawyer Conference – Sexual Assault Panel (2019)

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: Criminology (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)

Parliamentary Work

Over the last number of years there has been an ever increasing amount of ideological legislation aimed at criminal justice issues.  Much of this legislation is driven by short term political considerations.  This new legislation does not only affect those who are charged with an offence. Quite often the proposed legislation will have long term negative impacts on all members of society.

Michael Spratt is frequently requested by parliamentarians and organizations to appear before parliamentary committees to give expert evidence on new criminal law legislation.

Michael’s views these appearances as a way to hold the government to account for their legislative choices.  As a proponent of evidence based policy Michael is not afraid to speak truth to those in power.

Michael’s testimony is often referenced by Members of Parliaments and Senators in the political debates that follow the committee hearings.  Many of these references can be located on the Open Parliament website.

Criminal law and its application to individual cases is always changing and evolving.  Through his work in parliament Mr. Spratt has developed an expertise in determining how new laws will affect his clients.

Transcripts of Mr. Spratt’s Testimony:

Bill C-51: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act (Senate 2018)

Bill C-75: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (House 2018)

Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (Senate SOCI 2018)

Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (Senate 2018)

Bill C-51: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act (House 2017)

Bill C-46: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (House 2017)

Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (House 2017)

Bill C-226, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences in relation to conveyances) and the Criminal Records Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Impaired Driving) (House 2016)

 BILL C-242, an act to amend the Criminal Code (inflicting torture) (House 2016)

Bill C-35: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (law enforcement animals, military animals and service animals) (Senate 2015)

 Bill C-2: An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Senate 2015)

Bill C-51: An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (Senate 2015)

Bill S-7: An Act to amend the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (House 2015)

Bill C-26: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Senate 2015)

Bill C-32: An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts (Senate 2015)

Bill C-26: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act) (House 2015)

Bill S-7: An Act to amend the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Senate 2014)

Bill C-13:  An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (Senate 2014)

Bill C-13: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (House 2014)

Bill C-394, An Act to amend the Criminal code and the National Defence Act (criminal organization recruitment) (Senate 2014)

Bill C-444: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (personating peace officer or public officer) (Senate 2014)

Bill C-498: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (restriction on offenders) (House 2013)

Bill C-299: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Kidnapping of Young Person) (Senate 2013)

Bill C-309: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (concealment of identity) (Senate 2013)

Bill C-55: Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v Tse Act (House 2013)

Bill C-26: The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-Defence Act (Senate 2012)

Bill C-299: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Kidnapping of Young Person) (House 2012)

Bill C-2: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Mega-Trials) (Senate 2011)

Bill C-21: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sentencing for Frauds) (Senate 2011)

Bill C-41: An Act to Amend the National Defence Act (House 2011)

Bill C-54: Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act (House 2011)

Bill C-4: YCJA (House 2010)

Bill C-268:  Minimum Sentences for Human Trafficking (Senate 2010)

Bill S-4:  Identity Theft (Senate 2009)

Bill C-14: Organized Crime (Senate 2009)

Bill C-25: Pre-sentence custody (Senate 2009)