Peter Sankoff

Peter Sankoff is an award-winning law professor at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law who joined Bottos Law Group as Associate Counsel to the firm in 2017, where he works on a part-time basis. His core practice consists of representing criminal defendants who have been convicted at trial and are appealing against their convictions or sentences, or who are responding to Crown appeals. In addition, Peter is often consulted by other criminal lawyers seeking advice and assistance with complex legal motions and arguments at trial. In 2020, Peter was named one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers by the magazine, Canadian Lawyer.

Peter has acted successfully on a number of important cases in front of the Supreme Court of Canada, including R v DLW (considering the legal definition of bestiality), R v Suter (reversing the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision to raise sentence from 4 months imprisonment to 26 months imprisonment for refusing to provide a breath sample) and R v Barton (major case on sexual assault, murder/manslaughter). He has also won significant appeals at the Alberta Court of Appeal including R v Churchill (sentence reduced in trafficking case) and R v Sunderji (assault causing bodily harm conviction struck).  Most recently, he won a new trial for a client convicted of a major sexual assault, convincing the Court to accept three separate reasons for allowing the appeal in R v SKM.

Peter graduated with a JD from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law and subsequently worked as a law clerk for Madame Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada. After pursuing an LL.M. from Osgoode Hall (York University), he joined the federal Department of Justice where he worked an advisor on human rights matters involving criminal justice. Peter then left Canada to teach at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), Faculty of Law from 2001-2011, before returning to the University of Alberta in 2012.

Peter is one of Canada’s leading authorities on the substantive criminal law and the law of evidence. He is the author of the Law of Witnesses and Evidence in Canada (2020), one of the country’s leading texts on Evidence law. He is also the co-author or co-editor of leading texts on criminal law (Manning, Mewett and Sankoff on Criminal Law, 5th ed.) and animals and the law (Canadian Perspectives on Animals and the LawAnimal Law in Australasia: Continuing the Dialogue). He has published academic articles on all of these subjects in a number of the world’s most distinguished journals, including: the Canadian Bar Review, Queen’s Law Journal, the University of British Columbia Law Review, the Criminal Law Quarterly, the Alberta Law Review, The New Zealand Law Review and the Criminal Reports.

Peter regularly hosts a series of legal seminars intended to teach other lawyers about best practice. He has also created a website with a host of resources if you’d like to learn more about the criminal justice system. Along with his daughter Penny, he is the host of the Translating Criminal Law – Rated G Podcast, which teaches children and adults about how the criminal justice system works.

If you need assistance with an appeal, Peter would be happy to speak with you.

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Criminal Law Practice Areas:


  • Concordia University, 1992, BA (Broadcast Journalism) with distinction
  • University of Toronto, 1996, JD
  • Osgoode Hall, 2005, LL.M.
  • Peter is the recipient of a number of academic awards.

Memberships & Associations

  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Criminal Trial Lawyer's Association
  • Criminal Lawyer's Association

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