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Nov Advocate 2017

920 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 6 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE Bill Scarth followed in the footsteps of his family. His father, William Blakeman Scarth, K.C., was an eminent counsel in Winnipeg and an MLA during the Duff Roblin regime. His uncle, Joseph Thorson, was President of the Exchequer Court from 1942 to 1964. Another uncle, Harold St. Clair Scarth, Q.C., provided articles to Brian Dickson. His cousin, Donald Scarth Thorson, was a former deputy minister of justice and served on the Ontario Court of Appeal. Another cousin, Alan W. Scarth, Q.C., was a prominent environmental lawyer appointed to the Order of Canada. Bill obtained his LL.B. in 1961. After practising with his father in Winnipeg he decided to migrate west to lotus land. He was called to the bar in this province in 1967. In 1968–1970 he served as the first law clerk for both the B.C. Court of Appeal and the B.C. Supreme Court. This situation caused one of his former colleagues to remark on his appointment to the bench that Bill began his legal career in British Columbia preparing opinions which were then torn up by the Court of Appeal, and now some 18 years later he will once again be preparing opinions to be torn up by the Court of Appeal. In 1971 he travelled back home to the University of Manitoba and obtained his LL.M. He then returned to British Columbia to set up practice as a sole practitioner in White Rock. He was clearly a generalist in every sense of the word. His practice encompassed estate work, conveyancing, civil litigation and criminal defence work. When his father joined him the firm became known as Scarth & Scarth. In 1974 he joined the criminal law section of the federal Department of Justice in Vancouver. After a steady diet of prosecuting narcotics, tax, false advertising and extradition cases he joined the civil litigation section, becoming one of the leading constitutional lawyers in the province. He had an enviable appellate practice before the B.C. Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. His conduct as counsel was always characterized by courtesy and fairness in the best tradition of the bar. It is indicative of his treatment of his juniors and opposing counsel alike that the authors of this joint piece are from each camp. Like many others, they became lifelong friends of Bill through working with or against him. More than once, Chris Harvey would set off from the MacBlo building for a case in the Federal Court, only to be met by Bill, his opposing counsel, emerging from the DOJ offices in the Royal Centre. Those walks to the court and the jousting that followed were always a most pleasant exercise. One such occasion concerned an action for damages against the Crown brought by the shareholders of a fishing company. The facts strongly sup-


Nov Advocate 2017
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