Trinity Western University ready to go back to court to defend law school graduates

Trinity Western University is ready to go back to court to defend its graduates later this year. Last month Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson struck out a decision by the B.C. Law Society to reject graduates of TWU’s proposed School of Law, and restored an earlier decision that accepted TWU qualifications. He cited improper procedure and a breach of religious freedom. The Law Society of B.C. filed an appeal yesterday.

“We had hoped the Law Society of B.C. would let Chief Justice Hinkson’s decision stand, but we were prepared for an appeal,” said Earl Philips, the executive director of TWU’s proposed School of Law. “The decision to approve a law school graduate must be based not on the personal views of society members, but on the law and evidence. For this reason, we believe the court will continue to rule in favour of TWU.”

“People from many different faith communities have long been a valuable part of the Canadian landscape, including the legal profession,” said Amy Robertson, a TWU spokesperson. “TWU graduates are well-respected in the marketplace, and they’re practicing law, teaching in the public school system, operating successful corporations, and working as nurses while treating all people with the utmost compassion, respect and integrity.”

The university’s plans to open a law school have drawn attention from critics of its Community Covenant. One section asks students to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of traditional marriage. Robertson believes the objections stem from misunderstanding. Several LGBTQ students attend the university, and TWU does not inquire about sexual orientation during the admissions process.

“The Community Covenant calls for all members of the TWU community to respect and care for others no matter who they are,” she said. “We welcome everyone. Loving one another is one of the most important parts of our faith.”

TWU’s School of Law will emphasize not-for-profit and entrepreneurial/small business law.

“TWU will produce lawyers who are uniquely qualified to serve non-profits and small businesses with excellence, integrity, and sensitivity to important issues like the ones at hand today,” said Philips. “We look forward to meeting the demand for a faith-based law school, and to the privilege of serving fellow Canadians.”

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the Yukon will recognize TWU’s law graduates. A decision by the Nova Scotia court requiring approval of TWU law graduates has been appealed by the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society.  An Ontario court decision against TWU has also been appealed.

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