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Gowling partner wins award from The Advocates’ Society

Thursday, February 27, 2020 @ 1:19 PM | By John Chunn


Rick Dearden, a partner in the Ottawa office of Gowling WLG, is the 2020 recipient of the John P. Nelligan Award for Excellence in Advocacy from The Advocates’ Society.

According to a press release from Gowlings, this annual award is presented to a lawyer in the Ottawa area who exemplifies excellence in advocacy and who has clearly demonstrated a distinction as counsel and contributed significantly to the legal profession and well-being of the community at large.

Dearden is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He litigates primarily in the practice areas of defamation law, freedom of the press, access to information, international trade law, customs and investor-state arbitrations.

Dearden has acted as counsel in leading defamation trials and appeals, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms press cases and access to information cases. He acted as counsel for the Ottawa Citizen before the Supreme Court of Canada in the seminal cases of Cusson v. Quan and Grant v. Torstar that created the new “public interest responsible communication” defence to libel actions in Canada.

The John P. Nelligan Award for Excellence in Advocacy was established in 2016 to celebrate and acknowledge the outstanding contributions of John P. Nelligan, a long-time member and the first Ottawa president of The Advocates’ Society. 

“It is a true honour to have my name included with the distinguished past recipients of this award,” said Dearden. “John is a legend and an icon. I am so privileged to receive an advocacy award named after John Nelligan.”

The John P. Nelligan Award will be presented to Dearden on May 14 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa.