Alexander Pringle, QC, practiced law for over 40 years and enjoyed a reputation as one of Canada’s finest criminal lawyers.
A native Edmontonian, Alex received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta in 1968 and graduated from law school at the University of Toronto in 1971. Over the course of his distinguished career he was called to the bar in Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and he represented thousands of individuals charged with serious criminal offences, including dozens charged with murder. Alex was a skilled appellate lawyer, and was counsel in a number of landmark cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, including several cases that defined the contours of the law of homicide. He was occasionally trusted by the government to prosecute especially sensitive or politically-charged cases, working as a Special Prosecutor at arm’s length from the government prosecution service. Alex was defence counsel in some of the first international bribery cases that were ever prosecuted in Canada. He also maintained a busy practice defending lawyers and police officers who faced professional discipline proceedings.
Alex drew clients from the entire spectrum of Canadian society: businesspeople, doctors, tradespeople, NHL players, new Canadians, the homeless, the addicted, and the mentally ill, just to name a few. He was renowned throughout the legal profession for his integrity, his commitment to his clients, and his ethical approach to the defence of the accused.
Beyond the courtroom, Alex taught as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta for over three decades, introducing hundreds of law students to the criminal law. He presented numerous lectures to conferences of lawyers, judges, and police officers across Canada. His counsel was regularly sought by other lawyers, who deeply valued his sage advice when confronted with a challenging legal or ethical problem.
In recognition of his contributions to the profession and the public, Alex received many appointments and honours over his lifetime: He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992. In 1993, he was appointed a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 1998, he was elected Chair of the Criminal Law section of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. In 2011, he delivered the Bernard Cohn Lecture in Criminal Law at the University of Windsor. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Law Society of Alberta. That same year, he was awarded the Harradence Prize from the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association of Alberta, in recognition of his enormous contributions to the practice of criminal law in Alberta. Finally, in 2014, the sessional teaching award at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law was named after himself and Peter Royal QC, in recognition of their many years of service to the Faculty.
Alex passed away in June 2015. He is deeply missed by those who had the honour to work with him and learn from him. The firm he founded, Pringle Chivers Sparks Teskey, continues to carry on his tradition of zealous, ethical advocacy on behalf of the accused.