Nova Scotia Barristers' Society Files Appeal
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) announced today that it will appeal the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia’s January 2015 decision. Justice Campbell ruled that the NSBS did not have the authority to deny TWU’s proposed School of Law, nor did the NSBS properly weigh the significance of religious freedom in arriving at its decision. The initial hearing was held in December 2014, and Justice Campbell announced his 139 page decision on January 28, 2015.
“Justice Campbell decided the case correctly, comprehensively and with great clarity,” said TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold. “We have every reason to believe that the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal will arrive at the same outcome.”
In his decision, Justice Campbell recognized the value of religious communities. He wrote, “Learning in an environment with people who promise to comply with the code is a religious practice and expression of religious faith.” He said that, to require “a person to give up that right in order to get his or her professional education recognized” is an infringement of religious freedom.Trinity Western believes this is a strong ruling in favour of both the School of Law and freedom of religion in Canada and internationally.
Saffold emphasized Justice Campbell’s caution regarding the difference between recognizing a degree and regulating moral positions. Campbell wrote, “The refusal to accept the legitimacy of institutions because of a concern about the perception of the state endorsing their religiously informed moral positions would have a chilling effect on the liberty of conscience and freedom of religion. Only those institutions whose practices were not offensive to the state-approved moral consensus would be entitled to those considerations.”
In addition to responding to the appeal launched in Nova Scotia, TWU is preparing for hearings in Ontario and BC. The hearing for Trinity Western and the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario will take place from June 1 to 4, and the hearing involving Trinity Western and the Law Society of British Columbia is expected to take place later this summer.
Founded in 1962, TWU has been a part of higher education in British Columbia for 52 years. TWU has six professional schools, comprising business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies and arts, and media and culture. The proposed School of Law will be its seventh, which plans to open once the legal suits have finished.