Talk about a legal bind.
Lawyers who ply their trade near the site of a construction crane collapse in downtown Halifax have been locked out of their offices.
“We’re not allowed to go back into the building,” said Brian Church, a lawyer at Walker Dunlop at 1477 South Park St., which is next door to the collapse. “We can’t even get any of our files, we can’t be escorted.”
The fire marshal’s office told the firm that the crane is “perilously close” to the small renovated house that houses Walker Dunlop, Church said Tuesday.
“They’re just being very cautious, which I understand, but it’s going to affect our business for sure. ... It disrupts our office staff, it disrupts the lawyers that are working on cases.”
The crane took a dive at the height of the rain and wind storm Saturday that hammered the province. It’s now draped over the grey concrete shell of a new residential development on Brenton Place and Brenton Street.
Site developer Wadih Fares said Monday that the crane was “storm ready,” and he’s not sure what caused it to collapse onto the under-construction building.
The province is asking people to stay away from the area as work continues to secure the site.
Church said his firm hasn’t been given a timeline on when they might expect to get back into their offices.
The provincial law society has offered the firm a board room but the lawyers must find another temporary location for office work.
“It’s very bizarre, for sure,” said Church, who specializes in civil litigation, criminal defence and family law.
Joel Pink, a prominent defence lawyer with his brother’s firm Pink Larkin, said they will be allowed back into their offices at 1463 South Park on Wednesday.
“One day (being locked out) is not bad — if it was weeks or several days, then it would have been a great inconvenience,” he said Tuesday.
Although the lawyers will be allowed back to their offices, much of the building — which is on the other side of the construction site away from the crane — will be out of bounds.
“We cannot use our front door to get into our offices,” Pink said. “We’re not going to be able to meet clients in the offices, the meeting room, the war rooms and the kitchen are off-bounds.”
The legal firms have been caught up in an evacuation order from the fire department issued Monday affecting much of South Park Street.