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1997, he was in private practice as defence counsel, though he also continued
to be retained as a special prosecutor by the Crown on a number of
Jim’s skill as a lawyer was recognized in 1984 when he was appointed
Queen’s Counsel. Jim had been in practice for just 11 years at that time, so
his appointment as Q.C. took place early in his career: he deserved to be
recognized among the best of the best.
In 1997 Jim was appointed to the Provincial Court.3 He was extremely
well respected by his peers and by the legal community. As a judge he could
be an intimidating figure, but Jim was not mean or cruel. At the end of the
day he had a wide reasonable doubt and was extremely compassionate.
A prominent Surrey lawyer once noted that every lawyer remembers his
or her first trial with Judge Jardine. Some thought that a trial with him was
like an encounter with a grizzly bear: as a lawyer and as a judge, Jim would
never enter a courtroom unless he was extremely well prepared, and
frankly he did not take kindly to unprepared lawyers. If you were foolish
enough to enter his courtroom unprepared, you might not do so a second
time. As a result of Jim’s approach, his courtroom could be a very emotional
place. There was a lot of angst, anger and tears—and in Jim’s courtroom,
those were just the emotions of the lawyers.
But the good lawyers soon realized that beneath the grizzly bear exterior
there was a real softie—a teddy bear. At the end of the day Jim was a very
caring and compassionate person and an equally caring and compassionate
judge. He could be lenient when a person was deserving of a second chance
and tough when he had to be.
Jim also influenced the lives of fellow judges, as many of them have
noted. Here’s but one testimonial from one of his peers:
I first met Jim when I came to Surrey for orientation. After spending a
couple of days with Jim, I thought, “This guy is really the full meal deal.”
In addition to being a brilliant judge vis-à-vis the law, he displayed to me
over those two days a tremendous degree of common sense and compassion.
I remember leaving Surrey that week thinking that he was the kind
of guy that I would love to have as an older brother—a guy to look up to
and to go to for advice, and to emulate.
After Jim’s passing, Kim Bolan wrote an article in The Vancouver Sun
remembering Jim’s legal career.4 The fact that a reporter would take the
time to write such an article is an indication of how well respected Jim was
for his many accomplishments. In the article, former justice of the Court of
Appeal and later Attorney General Wally Oppal, Q.C., had this to say:
“Jardine was very passionate about what he did. He loved being a lawyer
and he loved being a judge and he was excellent at doing both of them ... .