LSBC meeting attendees at odds with Benchers' decision

Trinity Western University faced another obstacle today in its journey to launch a School of Law. At a Special General Meeting held by the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC), in a vote of 3210 to 968, a resolution was passed by lawyers across the province who attended the meeting to direct the Benchers of the LSBC to reverse their April 11 decision approving a faculty of law at Trinity Western University.

TWU President Bob Kuhn, J.D. expressed concern with the Resolution. “Difficult decisions involving fundamental rights and freedoms should not be decided by popular opinion,” he said. “In April, the LSBC Benchers made their decision, in a 20 to 7 vote, after the thoughtful and measured expression of views and careful consideration of reports and submissions, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001 SCC 31. The thorough process taken by the LSBC should not be undermined by a vocal group that organizes a special general meeting.”

“The Supreme Court of Canada ruled eight to one in our favour in 2001 to allow our education graduates to teach in public schools, and we feel that landmark decision needs to be respected,” said Kuhn. “Further, Section 3.1 of the Civil Marriage Act (2005) recognizes that it is not against public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage.”

There is no evidence to suggest that the religious beliefs of TWU-educated lawyers would affect the ability of those lawyers to serve all clients. “In a free and democratic society, the faith of TWU graduates cannot preclude them from practicing law,” said Kuhn. “A just society protects the rights of religious minorities.”

The resolution is not binding on the Benchers and does not legally compel them reverse the April decision. If the resolution has not been implemented within the following year, and the executive director receives another petition signed by at least five per cent of LSBC members, a referendum on the resolution must then be conducted. Even that cannot compel the Benchers to disregard their statutory duties.    

Founded in 1962, TWU has been a part of higher education in British Columbia for over 52 years. TWU has six professional schools, including business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media and culture. The School of Law would be its seventh.

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