140 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
My question to Turner was met by laughter from the mob of my fellow
students. But Turner was a true politician: his response was anodyne. I’m
sorry to say it was otherwise forgettable.
What I do remember, though not as clearly as I would wish, was the room
in which we had all gathered for the Turner event. It was what you expected
a reading room to be: attractively comfortable, a little worn, but elegant
nonetheless. Its qualities were not diminished even when, sometimes, it
was invaded by the crush of students who do such things as gather to hear
someone they could reasonably think would one day be prime minister.
The reading room had a wide expanse and large tables. On any given day,
the disproportionately small heads of 50 or more working and chatting students
bobbed around the table perimeters like flotsam.
The almost serene quality of the room in building No. 1 was completely
missing in the sterile lecture hall, designed for the masses and incorporated
into building No. 2, which was the unloved bunker now recollected only for
its concreteness and for its namesake, George Curtis (who was loved!).
There is nothing serene in the creatively engineered, probably ergonomically
correct, but definitely not homey central theatre in current building
No. 3, which is Allard Hall.
One day in March 1980, the unappealing lecture hall in building No. 2
was the site of a mock chambers hearing presided over by Sir Jack I. H.
Jacob, Q.C., a legendary English civil proceduralist brought over by the
CBABC at the urging of the branch’s civil litigation section. I was the chair
of the section at the time. The other members of the section executive were
the sanguine Clif Prowse, who later, for a long time, was a much underrated
(although ultimately appropriately recognized) civil litigator in the Ministry
of Attorney General; Al Ross (the elder); and David Martin (neither the
solicitor, who may not yet have been born, nor the criminal lawyer).
Despite our broad inexperience, it had been our job to decide on the section
program for the year, and we took a flyer by proposing the Jacob visit. We
chose him because he was the then editor-in-chief of Bullen and Leake and
Jacob’s Precedents of Pleadings,2 a book on which all B.C. counsel depended
heavily until pleadings were unceremoniously guillotined in 2010. In 1960
Jacob had written “The Present Importance of Pleadings”.3 B.C.’s decision to
dispense with pleadings in favour of undisciplined, imprecise and windy
arguments, where discipline, precision and economy are needed most,
would have bowled Jacob over had he lived to see the change occur.
Jacob was also the editor-in-chief of the English White Book4 and author
of that marvellous journal article, “The Inherent Jurisdiction of the Court”.5
Over the course of a generation plus, that article has probably been cited