Christian law School looses approval
Trinity Western University (TWU) announced Thursday (Dec 11, 2014) that B.C.s Advanced Education Ministry has revoked its approval for their proposed law school.
“The current uncertainty over the status of the regulatory body approval means prospective graduates may not be able to be called to the bar, or practice law, in British Columbia. This is a significant change to the context in which I made my original decision,” said Virk (CBC news, December 12, 2014).
The private Christian university, located in Langley, made the announcement on their website. TWU President Bob Kuhn hinted that there would be further legal challenges of the decision. He stated:
“Although it is not TWU’s wish to engage in another legal battle, there are such important rights and freedoms at stake that we may have no choice but to seek protection from the court.”
A legal fight between TWU, and the Government of B.C. and/or the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC), would pit their religious rights against other core rights protected in the Canadian Constitution.
One of TWU’s core values is, “Obeying the Authority of Scripture.” Students and staff are asked to sign a “Statement of Faith,” where they agree to support these religious values at all times. One of the responsibilities of staff and students includes, “Refrain from practices which are contrary to biblical teachings,” including: drunkenness, swearing, abortion, premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior, and viewing pornography.”
Victoria criminal lawyer, Michael Mulligan initiated the petition that ultimately changed the Law Society’s approval for accrediting the law school. He explained, “The policies of this university are inconsistent with the core values of legal profession insofar that this university continues to dispel or expel students for their private sexual activities.” ( CBC news, October 31, 2014).
Virk initially provided the government’s consent for the University to offer a law degree after “an extensive review of the program,” in 2013. However, this decision was later overturned after B. C. lawyers voted to revoke the original LSS approval, in a special referendum in October 2014.
Without the Law Society’s approval, graduate students of this new school of law would not qualify to become practicing lawyers in the province of BC. Likewise, graduates would not be able to practice law in Ontario or New Brunswick.
The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Society of New Brunswick also voted against accrediting Trinity Western Law School graduates, because it requires all students and staff to sign an agreement that they would not engage in same-sex relationships.
For more on the Upper Canada (Ontario) Law Society Decision:
For more on the New Brunswick Law Society Decision:
For more on the British Columbia Law Society Decision:
For more on Trinity Western University:
Jayne Embree M.A.
Divorce Coach and Child Specialist
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. Currently on sabbatical, Jayne is conducting research in the area of family dynamics and parental conflict.
Areas of Practice: Family law including separation, divorce, mediation, arbitration, child & spousal support, support variations, guardianship, parenting time, access, property division and more. Victoria BC