Memorable Manitobans: Clifford Henry Coad Edwards (1924-2008)
Lawyer, university professor.
Born at Jamalpur, India on 8 November 1924, son of George Henry Probyn Edwards and Constance Ivy Coad, he was educated in England at King’s College School and at the University of London, where he was the only candidate in his year to be awarded first-class honours. He subsequently did post-graduate work and was admitted in 1949 as asolicitor of the Supreme Court in London. In 1951, he married Kathleen Mary Faber and they later moved to Jos, Nigeria where Clifford was an adviser to SIM (Sudan Interior Mission now named Serving in Mission). In 1956, he accepted an appointment as lecturer in law at Kumasi College, Ghana. In 1958, he and his young family moved to Winnipeg where he joined the Manitoba Law School.
In 1964, he was appointed Dean and he was called to the Bar of Manitoba that same year. He led the transformation of legal education in Manitoba, which saw the adoption of a full-time Bachelor of Laws program, a new curriculum, the creation of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law (to carry forward the work of the Manitoba Law School), the recruitment of new faculty, the development of the E. K. Williams Library and the building of Robson Hall. He served terms as President of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers, chair of the Committee of Canadian Law Deans, and member of the executive committee of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association. He was also a member of the board of Balmoral Hall School and a member of the University of Manitoba Board of Governors. After resigning as Dean in 1979, Edwards served until 2005 as President of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission. He was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1980. He also served as a Manitoba member of the Canadian Uniform Law Commission and as a director of the Federation of Law Reform Agencies of Canada.
He was dedicated to the education and welfare of his students. On their nomination, he received the University’s Stanton Award for excellence in teaching. For nearly 20 years, he also taught commercial law in the Faculty of Management. In recognition of his many distinguished contributions to legal education, law reform and community service, he was made Queen’s Counsel (1980), was appointed Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of Law (1986), and received the Manitoba Bar Association Distinguished Service Award (1995). In 2005 he was recognized by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2006 and a member of the Order of Manitoba in 2007.
He was an Elder at the Church of the Way for 38 years and in later years a member of Saint Aidan’s Anglican Church. He served on the Canadian and international board of governors of SIM, which supports churches, education, hospitals and health programs around the world. He also served on the Canadian and international boards of Scripture Union and Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.
He died at Winnipeg on 5 July 2008.
“Nine lawyers in province appointed QC,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1979, page 4.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 July 2008.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 December 2019
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