Manitoba law society defers accreditation approval decision for TWU graduates

On May 22, the Benchers of the Law Society of Manitoba voted to not decide upon an approval process for accrediting Trinity Western University (TWU) School of Law graduates, deferring the matter to be addressed “on a national basis” as it was “less than ideal to have different decisions in different Canadian jurisdictions.” Indeed, the efforts of some provincial law societies to create a black-list of capable law graduates is not only complicated to maintain and enforce, but morally wrong and contrary to Canada’s tradition of freedom. 

TWU is a private institution in British Columbia offering Canada’s first Christian law program, expected to launch in 2016. TWU’s law school was approved and accredited by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and meets all the requirements to prepare one for legal practice. However, some provincial law societies have since voted to reject TWU accreditation due to disagreement with the University’s Community Covenant, which bars students, among other things, from engaging in “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”.

In support of freedom of association, the JCCF has been a vocal supporter of TWU’s right to establish and run its own law school, accredited by Canada’s law societies, producing graduates eligible to complete their articles and become lawyers. The JCCF has submitted “In Defence of the Free Societyto the Law Societies of B.C., Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, explaining why a free society must respect freedom of association, freedom of religion and conscience, and other individual rights.