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Nov Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE 921 VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 ported the claim but the law, shall we say, presented challenges. On the way to court Bill was asked if he had any authorities. “Just one,” he replied, followed by a pregnant pause. “Oh, and what might that be?” “Foss v. Harbottle,” Bill replied. Harvey knew instantly that his case was doomed. Harry Wruck remembers Bill taking great delight in phoning the Ottawa office as soon as he got in (it being 5 a.m. for Bill and 8 a.m. in Ottawa). Invariably no one answered and Bill would leave a message, just to demonstrate in a teasing way that we, in the promised land, were much more industrious and conscientious than the slackers in the national capital. On his appointment to the bench, when asked what he would miss the most about the DOJ, he replied, “Those triangle excursion trips to the Caribbean or Bermuda after flying east to Ottawa.” During one of those trips he and Wruck, touring by moped, decided to jump over a railroad track à la Evel Knievel. Both crashed, and as a result he forbade his children from ever getting a motorcycle. Once in the Bahamas he even tried windsurfing— rather unsuccessfully. Who would have guessed that the careful counsel and judge had a wild side to his character? Bill was sworn in as a judge of the County Court of Vancouver in 1988 on what used to be known as Empire Day—appropriate given his high regard for the Crown. His appointment began for him many happy years on the bench, being the County Court until merger in 1990 and the B.C. Supreme Court thereafter. There is no question that he felt he had arrived in paradise. The only holidays Bill took were to the biennial Cambridge law lectures, which he made a point of paying for himself. He would frequently combine those trips with a play at Stratford-upon-Avon and a visit to British judges whose judgments he particularly admired. Foremost in this regard were Lords Devlin and Denning. Those visits led to correspondence which he assiduously kept up as the years rolled by. The letters on both sides were in longhand and fountain pen. They did much to foster the longstanding relationship between the legal communities in Britain and B.C. Bill, a former president of the Law Courts Inn, was instrumental in the memorable dinner at the inn in January 1995 to mark the unveiling of the bust of Lord Denning. The commissioning of that bust was, not surprisingly, also largely Bill’s handiwork. It now has pride of place in the Great Hall of the Law Courts, noting that Lord Denning was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony for the new courthouse in 1979. A little-known fact is that a copy of the bust was given by the Legal Historical Society of B.C. to Lincoln’s Inn. To mark that occasion properly a delegation from the B.C. bar and bench, including Chief Justices Nemetz and Esson and, of


Nov Advocate 2017
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