810 V O L . 7 8 P A R T 6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 THE ADVOCATE
the Law Courts Inn at the Vancouver Courthouse on Smithe Street in order
to repurpose the space for government offices. Perhaps this is the least of
your worries, but it is a worry, and it is one we share with our colleagues.
Without consultation, the government simply appropriated the space and
unceremoniously terminated the longstanding lease of the Lawyers’ Inn
Society, thereby ending 40 years of access by the public and profession to a
space intended for the very purpose it has performed these past many years.
In our last issue, we reprinted the many desperate letters from organizations
and individuals negatively affected by the unilateral decision to take away
this resource (see “News About the Law Courts Inn” (2020) 78 Advocate 721).
Adam Howden-Duke, president of the Lawyers’ Inn Society, led the
charge with his request for a dialogue on the matter, noting that the Inn is
a viable going concern, the space is designed for use by the public and there
will be a negative public perception of the intended change. His June 25,
2020 letter was met with a curt response on July 17, 2020 from the Assistant
Deputy Minister of the Real Property Division, Ministry of Citizens’ Services,
Sunny Dhaliwal, stating: “Our decision not to renew the lease between
the Province and the Lawyers’ Inn is based on government’s operational
requirements.” The late Chief Justice Lance Finch entered the fray with his
July 20, 2020 letter imploring the Assistant Deputy Minister to “reconsider,
reverse the government’s present plan and find another location that will
meet the government’s need”. Long-time champion of the Law Courts Inn
Bruce Fraser, Q.C., also wrote to the Attorney General, as did Derek
LaCroix, Q.C. (on behalf of the Lawyers Assistance Program), Kathleen
Duffield, Andrew Gay, Q.C., Caroline Nevin, former Law Courts Inn president
Sandra Kovacs, Vancouver Bar Association president Andrea Fraser
and the entire editorial team of this publication.
Even the Arthur Erickson Foundation wrote a letter noting that the foundation
“enjoyed working with the government development manager, Gorman
Lee and your colleagues on the recent renovations to the entrance
and we have always appreciated the public access into an extraordinary and
otherwise inaccessible part of the complex that the Inn provides”. On that
score, the Lawyers’ Inn Society raised over $150,000 toward renovation
costs thanks to generous donations from a number of law firms, law-related
organizations and private individuals to fund a transformation and improvement
of the Law Courts Inn. A full list of donors appears on the feature wall
at the entrance to the facility, which also has historically hosted a collection
of original artwork prepared for the cover of the Advocate.
We are disheartened and disappointed to report that every effort (some
of which were truly Herculean) fell on completely deaf (and we venture to