An evangelical Christian university in British Columbia that has been blocked from starting its own law school got its day in court late last week. What was supposed to be Canada’s first Christian law school has had a lot of delays in getting off the ground because of lawsuits.
Nine judges on Canada’s Supreme Court, meeting in Ottawa, deliberated whether a law school can be accredited because its students must affirm traditional Christian doctrines on sex outside of traditional marriage (thereby excluding sexually active gay students) although, if you read Trinity Western University's covenant carefully, it does not mandate that students be Christian.
The case is known as Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada and Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of British Columbia Society.
I wrote about this case a few weeks ago and I thought Canadian media would be full of stories on the hearing -- but that’s not been the case. The Lawyer’s Daily, published by LexisNexis Canada, had the most complete account, which is what I start with here:
Day one of the much-anticipated Trinity Western University (TWU) hearing at the Supreme Court featured tough judicial questions for both sides, but most questions were directed to counsel for the evangelical Christian university which contends British Columbia and Ontario legal regulators shouldn’t have denied it accreditation for its proposed law school.
In the overflowing courtroom jammed with 69 counsel, and dozens of spectators watching on a big screen outside, nine judges probed TWU’s counsel Kevin Boonstra of Kuhn LLP and Robert Staley of Bennett Jones…
For those of you wanting to read this, there is a paywall, but you can get two weeks of it free, which means that all you need do is create a log-on to scan the piece.
Themes explored by the judges, who will also hear from 27 interveners on Dec. 1, included: How broad or narrow is the law societies’ statutory mandate to protect the public interest -- and did the regulators go beyond their jurisdiction by denying accreditation based on TWU’s controversial admissions policy requiring all would-be students, including those who are LGBTQ2, to sign a religious-based code of conduct restricting sexual intimacy to opposite-sex married couples. ...