THE ADVOCATE 523
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
A HOME FOR THE BENCH & BAR
NOT TO BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED!
By Adam Howden-Duke*
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Lawyers’ Inn Society
(the “Society”). Sadly, however, unless the Ministry of Citizens’
Services can be persuaded otherwise, as of September
30, 2020 the Law Courts Inn restaurant will close its doors for
good, and the space the Society currently manages for both the public and
the profession will be lost forever, to be converted into government offices.
This change may happen without consultation with the profession or the
public and, if allowed to proceed, will divest the public and the profession
of one of the most beautiful public spaces in the city—used so effectively to
enhance the administration of justice—and turn it into government offices.
The Society was formed in 1971. At the beginning, it operated out of the
Marc Building on the corner of Hornby and Dunsmuir. The doors opened
there on May 14, 1972. An article in the Advocate from that year records the
origins of the Inn and some of its history, which survives to this day:
Among messages of goodwill received for the occasion was one from London’s
Middle Temple, which has donated part of the floor of its famous
Four venerable oak boards, which served in that ancient lawyers’ meeting
place for almost two-and-a-half centuries and bore the buckled shoes
of many of the most famous figures of English legal history, are being
flown to Vancouver to be made into a table for the Inn.
“It will give us all pleasure that there should be this link between The
Lawyers’ Inn and the Middle Temple”, wrote Lord Salmon, Treasurer of
the Middle Temple.1
When the new Arthur Erickson–designed courthouse opened in 1980, in
the centre of the complex was a large space specifically designated as a public
restaurant. Our board of directors approached Chief Justice Nemetz and
offered to manage the space and operate it as a public restaurant and the
Lawyers’ Inn. With the wholehearted support of the judiciary, the Law
Courts Inn restaurant was opened to the public and also became the new
* Adam Howden-Duke is the president of the Lawyers Inn Society.