David Eby and Pivot Legal Society

Re: David Eby and Pivot Legal Society: restriction of access to city services and participation in civic committees and your letter of November 29, 2006

To: Frances J. Connell, Director of Legal Services, City of Vancouver

From: Gail Davidson, Executive Director LRWC

Date: 2006-12-08

I regret that your November 29th 2006 reply failed to address the essential matter of the legal justification for the sweeping restrictions you sought to impose by your October 13, 2006 correspondence to Mr. Eby. We are concerned that you now seek to impose additional arbitrary restrictions on Mr. Eby’s right to fully represent clients and to participate in civic affairs. (your December 4/06 correspondence to Mr. Eby)

My letter of November 24th 2006 was not based on any misunderstanding of the facts or the applicable law. I urge you to carefully consider the applicable law and respond.

Your assertion that all employees of the city of Vancouver are the clients of the city’s Legal Department is, to our knowledge, unsupported by law. As the Director of Legal Services for the City of Vancouver you do not automatically represent the employees of the City of Vancouver. LRWC knows of no ongoing law suits that have placed any employees of the City of Vancouver in the position of being either:

a. “a person represented by another lawyer” as referred to in the Professional Code of Conduct, Chapter 4, Rule 1.1; or,

b. ‘a potential witness represented by another lawyer’ as referred to in the Professional Code of Conduct, Chapter 8, Rule 12.1

When a Vancouver City employee or elected representative is a party to, or a witness in, a legal action by or against the City and Mr. Eby represents the opposing party, access by Mr. Eby to such people as reasonably fit those descriptions, will be governed by the Professional Code of Conduct rules regulating contact with represented witnesses and represented parties.

I suggest that for each such action, the Legal Department provide Mr. Eby and Pivot Legal Services with a list of employees who are, in your opinion, represented by the Legal Department either as parties or witnesses.

As you know, Canadian law, binding on the City of Vancouver, protects the freedoms of speech, association and advocacy rights of Mr. Eby, his clients and Pivot staff. Regulations such as the Professional Code of Conduct do not and cannot override these freedoms. Their purpose is to ensure them.

We remain concerned that the underlying tone of your letters comes close to implying professional misconduct by Mr. Eby and thereby compromises his independence to act properly and vigorously for indigent clients. It is hard to imagine the Legal Department receiving instructions to take such an unusual position towards legal counsel for solvent clients.

To avoid further compromising the rights of Mr. Eby and those of his clients, we ask the Legal Department to:

1. Withdraw directives seeking to impose the restrictions that:

a. Mr. Eby’s communications with Vancouver City staff at public meetings be “limited to the terms of reference established for those meetings”; and,

b. all communications by Mr. Eby or Pivot with Vancouver City staff, except those in relation to Pivot licensing and freedom of information requests, by made through the City’s legal department.


2. Provide LRWC with an precise explanation of the legal bases for both the above noted restrictions and the underlying assertion that the Legal Department of the City of Vancouver acts for all city employees.

We thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to receiving a response that addresses the human rights concerns set out in this and our November 24th 2006 correspondence.