Lisa Silver

Lisa Silver

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

Web presence


Office: MFH4338


Educational Background

LLM University of Calgary, 2001

LLB Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 1987

BA Economics, University of Western Ontario, 1984


Lisa is a proud Calgarian, lawyer, educator, and avid blogger. She earned her LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1987, completing her articles of clerkship in criminal litigation with Greenspan, Humphrey. Lisa was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1989 and was an associate lawyer with Greenspan, Humphrey until she moved back to her home town, Calgary, in 1998. As a practicing lawyer, Lisa was involved in more than 200 appeals before all levels of court in Ontario, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Lisa earned her LLM from the University of Calgary in 2001, while also launching Silver Lawyers, a legal research and writing organization. As a research lawyer, Lisa has written numerous facta and opinion briefs for matters before all levels of the Alberta courts, including SCC leave applications. Lisa Silver joined the Faculty of Law full-time in 2016, after spending two years as a sessional instructor.

Lisa teaches criminal law, evidence and advocacy courses. She was awarded the Faculty of Law’s Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 2016-2017 and the Student Union Teaching Excellence Award for 2021-2022. She maintains her own award-winning law blog at and regularly contributes to the Faculty’s ABlawg website. Lisa is involved in judicial and professional education and often presents for the National Judicial Institute as well as the CBA.

Lisa served for six years on the Calgary Police Commission, five of which she was Vice Chair. Currently she is a Board member of Calgary Legal Guidance.

Lisa is a member of the Large Enrollment Courses Community of Practice and the Learning Technologies Advisory Committee (LTAC) at the University of Calgary.

Research Activities

Lisa’s research interests are as broad and deep as her career background. Her online scholarship covers all areas of the criminal justice system including substantive criminal law issues and criminal law reform. She publishes on her own legal commentary website, Ideablawg, and produces a podcast on the Criminal Code. Her off-line articles focus on the rules of evidence, such as the admissibility of expert evidence, social media evidence and informant privilege. Her writing also explores burden of proof and credibility assessment in judicial decision making. Lisa's work has been cited in Supreme Court of Canada decisions (See R v Goldfinch and R v Friesen). Presently, she is working on the role and the precedential value of appellate guidelines and starting points in creating a just and appropriate criminal sanction as envisioned in fundamental sentencing principles and objectives. She revised, with Pat Knoll QC, Criminal Law Defences, 5th edition. Lisa and Prof. Nickie Nikolaou are working on publications tinvestigating the impact of experiential learning in creating the “Whole Advocate” in the capstone advocacy program offered at UCalgary Law, for which Lisa is the course director. Lisa has just been awarded a grant to further explore the admissibility and use of social media evidence for her proposed paper entitled "Social Media Evidence Revisted: The Truth-Sseeking Function in a Post-Truth Era". She is also doing collaborative research with a. colleague at the School of Architecture and Planning looking at the intersection between law and urban design.


Areas of Research

Criminal law and policy, Criminal procedure (search warrants and privacy rights), Evidence (admissibility and use of social media issues of proof and expert evidence), Sentencing principles and policy (sentencing starting points and guidelines), Regulatory offences, Law and the Built Environment


Course number Course title Semester
LAW 410 Crime: Law & Procedure
LAW 507 Evidence
LAW 585 Alberta Court of Appeal Moots
LAW 653 Directed Research


  • Best law blog (Professor), The Canadian Law Blog Awards (Clawbies). 2017
  • Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law. 2018
  • Students' Union Teaching Excellence Award, Students' Union, University of Calgary. 2022


  • “Vice, Universe and Everything”. Lisa Silver. 94 Supreme Court Law Review (2d). 437-458. (2020)
  • “Back to Burgess: The Impact of the White Burgess Expert Evidence Regime in Alberta Decisions”. Lisa Silver. 57:1 Alberta Law Review. (2019)
  • "The WD Revolution". Lisa Silver. Manitoba Law Journal (Volume 41, Issue 4). (2018)
  • “Poof Into A Puff of Air - Where Have All The Defences Gone? The Air of Reality Test And The Defences of Justifications and Excuses”. Lisa Silver. 61 Criminal Law Quarterly. (2014)
  • “The Unclear Picture of Social Media Evidence”. (2020) 43:3 Manitoba Law Journal 111- 154. (2020)
  • “That Time of Year” . Law and Learning in the Time of Pandemic – A Collage, Lex Electronica, University of Montreal, Volume 25, Numero 4 (2020-21). (2020)
  • “Digitizing Hate: A National Response” . Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) Justice Report, Special Issue on Hate Crime, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp 11-15. (2021)
  • “The Ties That Bind Us: Precedent and the Role of Appellate Courts in Setting Sentencing Ranges, Guidelines and Starting Points” . in publication. (2022)
  • Criminal Law Defences, 5th edition. Lisa Silver and Pat Knoll. Thompson Reuters. (2021)
  • “The Ultimate Creation Story: The Confidential Informant as a Creation of Law". Lisa Silver. in C. Hunt (ed.), Perspectives on Evidentiary Privileges. 259-82. (2019)
  • Voices From the Digital Classroom. Edited by Sandra Abegglen, Fabian Neuhaus, and Kylie Wilson. Series 2 Chapter. (2022)
  • “Driving to the Legal Limit: An Update of the New Impaired Driving Regime”. Saturday Morning at the Law School. (2020)
  • “Social Media and the Transformation of the Rules of Evidence in the Digital World”. National Judicial Institute Program. (2020)
  • “How to be a Maven at Expert Evidence". National Judicial Institute Program, Judging in the First Five Years: Criminal Law. (2020)
  • “Social Media and the Transformation of the Rules of Evidence in the Digital World”. National Judicial Institute Program, Judging in the First Five Years: Criminal Law. (2020)
  • “The Unclear Picture of Social Media Evidence”. Criminal Justice and Evidentiary Thresholds in Canada: The Last Ten Years Conference. (2019)
  • “Why Reconsider W(D)?”. Alberta Provincial Court Judges’ Lunch and Learn. (2019)
  • “Vice, Universe and Everything or May the Source Be with You". Annual Constitutional Cases Conference. (2019)
  • “Distilling Dishonesty: Property Crime in the 21st Century”. National Judicial Institute Program, Criminal Law Seminar. (2019)
  • “Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? Understanding Mandatory Minimum Sentences”. Saturday Morning at the Law School. (2019)
  • “Supreme Court Update”. CBA Criminal Justice Seminar. (2019)
  • “Hot Topics In Criminal Law” . LESA Criminal Law Webinar Series: Hot Topics in Criminal Law. (2021)