The former Liberal justice minister was first elected in 1999 in Mount Royal and was named to the Paul Martin cabinet in 2003.
He was a law professor at McGill University and director of its human rights program before entering politics.
Cotler has made a name for himself at home and abroad as an expert on international and human-rights law.
The 73-year-old was chosen to represent the Liberal party at Nelson Mandela's funeral last year.
Cotler was first elected with a remarkable 92 per cent of the vote, but by the 2011 election, his vote share had dropped to 41 per cent.
The riding has been Liberal since 1940 and was held by Pierre Trudeau for six elections.
"I have enjoyed the honour and privilege of serving my riding, Parliament, and the Canadian people as a whole for close to fifteen years," Cotler said in a statement Wednesday.
"I look forward to completing my mandate and continuing the pursuit of justice in other arenas.
"When I first ran in 1999, I viewed coming to Parliament as a temporary sabbatical from being a law professor and human rights lawyer. However, given the support and encouragement of my family, constituents, and Parliamentary colleagues, I continued to serve in Parliament, which I consider to be one of the highest forms of public service."