TWU challenges BC Law Society in court
Trinity Western University announced today that it will commence legal proceedings to challenge the Law Society of British Columbia’s (LSBC) October 31st decision to reverse its earlier recognition of TWU School of Law graduates.
Both the Law Society of British Columbia and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education originally approved TWU’s School of Law. “We have no choice but to proceed legally,” said Bob Kuhn, President of Trinity Western. “By prejudging our future law graduates not on their qualifications but the Community Covenant they agree to abide by while students at TWU, the Law Society has infringed on the human rights of TWU and its students.”
The Law Society’s decision to rescind its prior approval was not grounded on the quality of the TWU academic program, but rather was based on TWU’s religious view of marriage. Members of the TWU community observe a set of Christian behavioural standards that affirm sexual intimacy as belonging within the bounds of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. However, as Kuhn pointed out, "The Supreme Court ruled in its 2001 decision involving approval of the TWU education program that, just as is the case with respect to the law school, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the religious views of TWU graduates lessen their competence to practice their profession in Canada’s pluralistic society.”
“What many critics overlook is that our Community Covenant says that all students and faculty are to love and respect other people,” Kuhn said, “regardless of their background or personal characteristics. TWU is a community of diversity and acceptance. This campus is a Christian home for four thousand students with an array of opinions and beliefs.”
Trinity Western University’s proposal to open a School of Law has been approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, as well as the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon. Additionally, both the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Archdiocese of Vancouver support TWU’s right to open a law school.
Despite these multiple approvals, TWU now faces the necessity of legal action against the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Nova Scotia Barristers Society, and now the Law Society of British Columbia, related to their disapprovals of TWU’s law school based upon the University community’s religious beliefs.
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 will be its seventh.