Laura Matalas defends people who face criminal charges. She also assists people charged with regulatory offences or who face professional disciplinary allegations. Over her years as a defence lawyer, Laura has helped her clients in a variety of ways, including:
- Giving advice to people who are being investigated by the police or by a professional regulator
- Conducting complicated criminal trials – including, for example, jury trials, trials of sexual assault allegations, third party records applications, and trials involving novel Charter applications or complex evidentiary issues
- Assisting with contested bail hearings and sentencing hearings
- Arguing appeals, including appeals to the Court of Appeal
- Defending against charges in youth court, such as sensitive allegations of sexual misconduct against a young person
- Responding to professional discipline allegations, including responding to disciplinary charges brought against healthcare professionals under the Health Professions Act
- Defending post-secondary education students who face allegations of academic- or non-academic misconduct
Laura knows that being accused of a crime, or other serious wrongdoing, can be confusing and overwhelming. Her first step is to build a trusting relationship with her client. Laura wants her clients to understand their options so they can be partners in their defence. She recognizes that a serious accusation does not make someone a bad person, and she views every client – first and foremost – as a human being entitled to be treated fairly and with respect. Laura prides herself on giving straightforward, honest advice. She is compassionate and she does not shy away from taking matters to trial when a client’s best option is a vigorous defence.
Laura is also passionate about access to justice. She volunteers with the Elizabeth Fry Society and provides advice to inmates serving federal sentences at the Edmonton Institution for Women. Laura also assists Dr. Hadley Friedland with an Indigenous sentencing course at the University of Alberta. She participates in various committees aimed at reducing the over-incarceration of Indigenous people in Canadian jails. She volunteered extensively with Student Legal Services while in law school. Finally, Laura has also seen the justice system from the other side, having worked at the Edmonton Regional Crown Prosecutors’ office during law school.
Laura completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Victoria, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. She attended law school at the University of Alberta, where she graduated in 2016. She then articled to Kent J. Teskey, QC, and has practiced at Pringle Chivers Sparks since being called to the bar in 2017.