The law societies of BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia have ruled against recognizing the law school of Trinity Western University (“TWU”), a private Evangelical Christian university in Langley, BC. All other law societies in Canada have voted in favour of accepting TWU’s graduates. As a consequence of the Law Society of B.C.’s (“LSBC”) refusal to recognize TWU’s law program the BC Minister of Advanced Education rescinded the province’s approval of the law program. TWU filed an Originating Application for judicial review of the LSBC decision.
On December 10, 2015, the Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled against the LSBC. The LSBC has appealed to the Court of Appeal of B.C.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved the law program of TWU as meeting academic and professional standards. The LSBC admits there is nothing 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.
As an intervenor in all three provinces where TWU’s right to start a law school has been challenged, the Justice Centre argued 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 November 1, 2016, the Court of Appeal of British Columbia ruled in favour of Trinity Western.