Dale Gibson: Scholar, Teacher, Lawyer, and Man of Principle


  • The Hon. Justice Ritu Khullar


When I was invited to speak at the March 2020 Alberta Law Review Annual Reception, I decided to talk about Dale Gibson, my friend, mentor, and former colleague. I wanted to do so because I believe his contributions to the law have sometimes been overlooked. I was delighted that Dale and his spouse, Sandra Anderson, would be able to attend the Reception so that I could celebrate Dale in person. Then, the event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So everything was rescheduled for March 2021. This gave me time to further develop my remarks and turn them into this article. Then the 2021 Reception was also cancelled because of the pandemic. Dale’s health was deteriorating so I gave him a draft of the article for review and comment. This resulted in a lovely visit with me, my spouse Robert, and Dale and Sandra where we shared many memories. And, of course with Dale, to still receive some insightful comments on the draft despite his health.

Dale passed away at the age of 88 in January 2022. So, while he never got to hear me pay tribute to him, he did get to read a draft of the article.

In this article I have attempted to provide an overview of some the qualities that infused Dale’s work, and in that way introduce readers to some the areas of his legal scholarship and practice. In the two appendices I also include two selected lists: his professional contributions and his publications. However, I realized in writing this abstract after Dale’s death that the article does not introduce you to the decent, kind, humble, generous, curious, and joyful person that was Dale. To learn more you will have to attend the Alberta Law Review Annual Reception in 2023 (since the 2022 one was also cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

I am so grateful that I got to know Dale. I met him while an articling student at a large private law firm in Edmonton, and worked with him there. After he left to start his own boutique constitutional law firm, he asked me to join him. Joining Dale was the hardest and best decision of my career. I would not be where I am today, had I not done so.

The following does not do Dale justice, but it is a beginning.