B.A. Distinction, LLBLeighton B. U. Grey, QC

Leighton was born in Regina, Saskatchewan. He grew up in the Kensington Community of northwest Edmonton, where he excelled in sports and academics. He graduated with honours from Queen Elizabeth Composite High School in 1985 and received the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship. He also played Bantam and Midget AAA hockey with the Canadian Athletic Club. From 1985 to 1987, Leighton attended Camrose Lutheran College, where he pursued a dual major in English Literature and History. Leighton received a Bachelor of Arts (Distinction) in 1989 from the University of Alberta and graduated from its Faculty of Law in 1992.
Alberta Lawyer
Leighton was born in Regina Saskatchewan and grew up in the Kensington community of north Edmonton.  Leighton is a status Indian whose Great Grandfather was once the Hereditary Chief of the Carry The Kettle or Jack Band at Sintaluta, SK.  Leighton‘s grandmother and great aunt were both survivors of the notorious Brandon Indian Residential School.  Leighton‘s father is a Treaty Indian who spent over two decades helping indigenous youth transition out of urban gangs, and was the founder of The Spiritkeeper Youth Society.  Leighton excelled in sports and academics, graduating with honours from Queen Elizabeth Composite High School in 1985, where he scored the highest mark in the Province on the Social Studies departmental final examination and was awarded the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship.  He also played Bantam and Midget AAA hockey with the Canadian Athletic Club.  From 1985-89, he attended Augustana University in Camrose before transferring to the University of Alberta to complete his B.A. (Distinction) with dual majors in English Literature & History.  He was awarded an essay prize in Ethics in 1988 and received the Louise McKinney Scholarship, awarded to Alberta students with the top 2% of GPA in the Province.  Leighton was awarded the prestigious Legal Studies For Aboriginal People Scholarship from 1989-92, which is a national prize presented to only 10 students each year.  He received early acceptance to the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 1988 and graduated in 1992.  Leighton also pursued post graduate degrees in Business Administration (2017) and most recently completed his PhD (Philosophy) during the 2020 pandemic.
Leighton began his legal career with the Federal Department of Justice, where he completed his Articles of Clerkship in 1993 before taking a hiatus to play minor league pro hockey with The Daytona Beach Sun Devils.  In 1995, Leighton resumed the full -time practice of law.  In 2005, Leighton founded his current practice.  Leighton was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 2004 and to the Law Society of British Columbia in 2014.  Leighton has conducted hundreds of trials before Alberta Courts, and has for many years been considered one of the top criminal trial lawyers in Alberta.  he has served as mentor or principal to eight articling students, two of whom went on to become Partners in GWSLLP.  Leighton is also a Qualified Mediator and Arbitrator, and is a member of the ADR Institute of Canada.  He served as an Adjudicator in Law Society Disciplinary Hearings from 2015-2020.  Leighton was made Queen’s Counsel in 2010, and was then the youngest lawyer in Alberta to hold that prestigious designation.  He was the recipient of the 2013 Stars of Alberta Volunteer Award, the 2015 Legal Aid Society Access to Justice Award, and the 2019 Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Gary J. Bigg Justice & Humanitarian Award.
Leighton was heavily involved in the original IRS Class Action from 2004-2016, and represented hundreds of claimants in the ADR process that was part of the settlement which culminated in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report.  He and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents of two sons who attend Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C.  Their family is also a proud owner and supporter of the Drayton Valley Thunder Junior A Hockey Club.

Leighton Grey inRecent Media

The Trojan Horse: A short history on the gun control issue

June 1, 2020

The history of gun control in Canada has demonstrated that it has been largely ineffectual in terms of reducing firearms-related crimes.

Rifles and shotguns are relatively easy to obtain, while handguns and semi-automatic rifles are restricted.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act was a gun control law passed by the Pierre Trudeau Liberals in 1969. Several studies found it had no impact on reducing homicide and robbery rates, and one even found that it may have increased robberies involving firearms.


The Individual is becoming the most oppressed minority

May 6, 2020

The Canadian Charter to Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society

The COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declared by Canada’s federal and provincial governments have challenged the legal primacy of these civil liberties and created unprecedented tension between justifiable state action for protection of the public on the one hand, and the legal exercise of our individual freedoms on the other.


Class-action filed on behalf of former day school students

Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey has filed an application to certify a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Indigenous day students who claim to have suffered negligence and abuse at a denominational day school five decades ago.

Several former elementary and middle-school students report having permanent scars, hearing loss and other physical injuries from being abused, says Grey, a senior partner with Grey Wowk Spencer LLP. READ MORE >

Indigenous communities ill-served by ‘colonial policing’

It will take more than money to solve the problem of “colonial policing” in Indigenous communities, says Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey.

A recently released report, conducted by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) on behalf of Public Safety Canada, concluded that many Indigenous communities are poorly served by a colonial model of policing that not only ignores the cultural traditions but also fails to cultivate the trust of the people who live in the places they serve. READ MORE >

CBSA’s search of lawyer’s cellphone, laptop troubling: Grey

The Canadian Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) ability to search electronic devices belonging to lawyers returning to Canada raises serious questions around both solicitor-client privilege and other areas of personal information that are open to government intervention, says Alberta civil litigator Leighton Grey.  READ MORE >

Lawsuit seeks justice for residential day school victims

A class action could bring some measure of justice to victims of a residential day school, says Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey.

Grey, senior partner with Grey Wowk Spencer LLP, tells the news website Lakeland Connect he wants to ensure that former students of the Kehewin school, which was run by the federal government in partnership with the Catholic church, know about the lawsuit.  READ MORE >

‘Another step:’ Federal Court judge releases ruling in Cree and Dene

EDMONTON — The Federal Court of Canada says it has issued a ruling in Cree and Dene — the first time it’s done so in an Indigenous language.

Justice Sebastien Grammond wrote about the importance of including the two languages in a ruling last Friday that overturned the suspension of a First Nations band councillor in Fort McMurray, Alta.  READ MORE >

SCC ruling a call to action for the Crown: Grey

A recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) ruling is a call to action for the Crown to reconsider how well the justice system balances people’s rights with the goal of prosecuting those who violate the law, Alberta criminal lawyer Leighton Grey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

In a 9-0 ruling, the SCC said people accused of crimes are entitled to a review of their detention under the Criminal Code, and that making an accused person wait in jail before trial should be the exception, not the rule.  READ MORE >

Revised impaired driving law likely to trigger appeals: Grey

New legislation granting police more discretion during roadside checks could soon face court challenges, Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Prompted by the legalization of marijuana, Bill C-46 changed Canada’s impaired driving laws and gave police enhanced powers to conduct roadside intoxication tests.   READ MORE >

Question of solicitor-client privilege comes to fore in SNC Lavalin controversy

The time-honoured tenet of solicitor-client privilege — usually discussed in courtrooms and law-school textbooks — has become a central point of debate in a political controversy over whether the prime minister’s aides put undue pressure on a former attorney general.    READ MORE >

Indian Hospital class action: the origins

In part one of a three-part series exploring the Indian Hospital class action, Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey discusses some of the instances of medical mistreatment that led to the lawsuit, including medical experiments and children who were switched at birth.   READ MORE >

Dad furious, PM rapped over transfer of girl’s killer to healing lodge

The father of a raped and murdered eight-year-old girl said on Wednesday the transfer of one of her killers to a prison “healing lodge” has sparked widespread anger and needs to be reversed, while the federal government said it would review the decision.  READ MORE >

Chief justice’s remarks about Aboriginal incarceration rates welcomed

Intervention by the nation’s top judge in the debate over rates of Aborginal incarceration is welcome news to Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey.

The Canadian Press reports Indigenous people accounted for almost one-quarter of those in the entire federal jail system, while proportionally fewer Indigenous offenders have been granted gradual release from custody than the general population.  READ MORE >

More allegations of racism linked to Manitoba Hydro site

A report into working conditions at a Manitoba Hydro site details allegations of racism, sexual harassment and prison-like living conditions.

“I feel alone and segregated, and too scared to ask for help,” one participant said in the report called Keeyask Workplace Culture Assessment: A Review of Discrimination and Harassment.  READ MORE >

Grey Wowk Spencer LLP welcomes new partner

Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey and Lawren Wowk are pleased to welcome Hart Spencer into the firm’s new partnership of Grey Wowk Spencer LLP.

Spencer joined the firm in 2010 as an articling student, following the completion of his law degree at the University of Saskatchewan, says Grey, a senior partner with the firm.   READ MORE >

Grey spreads the word about ‘Indian hospital’ class action

Alberta Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey is spreading the word across Alberta about new residential school and “Indian Hospital” claims against the Canadian government.  READ MORE >

Indigenous women overrepresented in Vancouver police checks: rights advocates

Indigenous and civil rights activists seeking an investigation of the Vancouver Police Department’s use of random street checks want to amend their complaint based on new data showing Aboriginal women are checked more often than other groups.  READ MORE >

Indigenous rights litigator Grey fights for underdogs

Cold Lake Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey’s wide-ranging practice provides him with an extremely varied client base.

Grey, a senior partner with Grey Wowk Spencer LLP, acts for people with problems in the areas of criminal law, child welfare proceedings, personal injury and other forms of civil litigation.  READ MORE >

Grey to host information sessions on Indian hospitals class action

Cold Lake Indigenous rights litigator Leighton Grey will host two information sessions to update potential claimants on the Indian hospitals class action.

The firm will present facts about the proposed class proceeding that was filed in January 2018 alleging maltreatment at Canada’s 29 Indian hospitals  READ MORE >

Guide to Indigenous legal rights, history and culture ‘insulting’

The regulatory body for Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals has released a guide to help legal professionals better understand the legal rights, history and culture of Indigenous people. READ MORE >

Decision raises issues about legal tactics in residential school claims

Survivors of the notorious St. Anne’s residential school have no right to documents they argued were crucial to compensating them for the horrific abuses they suffered, Ontario’s top court has ruled.  READ MORE >

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