B.C. Court of Appeal rules for freedom in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of British Columbia
The Justice Centre expressed satisfaction with the ruling of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Trinity Western University v. Law Society of British Columbia, released November 1, 2016.
“The Court of Appeal’s decision is a victory for freedom of association, freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of expression,” said Justice Centre president John Carpay. “All Canadians must be free to peacefully associate with one another under common beliefs and values, without punishment, and this court today upheld those freedoms.”
The Law Society of British Columbia refuses to recognize the law program of Trinity Western University (TWU), a private Evangelical Christian university in Langley, B.C. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved the law program of TWU as meeting academic and professional standards. The Law Society does not allege that there is anything wrong with TWU’s law program, but claims that TWU’s Community Covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community. The Community Covenant prohibits numerous legal activities such as vulgar or obscene language, drunkenness, viewing pornography, gossip, and sexual activity outside of the marriage of one man and one woman.
The Justice Centre previously intervened in this case at the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to argue for the Charter section 2(d) right to freedom of association, including the right of every charity, ethnic and cultural association, sports club, temple, church, and political group to establish its own rules and membership requirements. On December 10, 2015, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in favour of Trinity Western, stating that the Law Society’s decision was unreasonable. The Law Society appealed, and the Court of Appeal heard oral argument from the parties in June of 2016.