Paul L. Caron
Dean




Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Accreditation Battle Over Canada's First Christian Law School

Trinity WesternFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):  Richard Moon (University of Windsor), The Accreditation of Trinity Western University's Law Program:

There is a debate at the moment about whether the law societies (which regulate the legal profession in the various provinces) must accredit a law program to be offered by Trinity Western University [TWU], a private Evangelical Christian college. The Law Society of Upper Canada [LSUC], along with the law societies of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, refused to the accredit the proposed program because of the school’s discriminatory admissions policy and in particular the covenant that all students are required to sign, in which they agree, among other things, not to engage in sex outside of marriage and sex with a same-sex partner. The issue in the TWU accreditation case is whether the covenant is simply an internal matter (a rule that applies simply to the internal operations of a voluntary religious association) or whether it impacts outsiders to the religious community or the public interest, more generally. As I understand it, the law societies are not claiming that the members of a religious community need to be protected from oppressive or discriminatory internal rules. There are two ways in which it may be argued that the TWU program (and the covenant in particular) will have an impact on the public interest.

The first argument is that a school that teaches its students that homosexuality is wrongful or immoral will not properly prepare lawyers for practice in the general community. Lawyers have duties to their clients, to the law, and to the institutions of justice. An accredited school must be willing to affirm basic equality rights. Second, admission to Canadian law schools is competitive. If its program is accredited, TWU will select students from a large number of applicants. Following graduation (as well as articling, and bar exams), TWU students will be eligible to practice law in a particular province. The accredited law schools are a gateway to the legal profession. The concern then is that TWU’s admissions policy will have a discriminatory impact on gays and lesbians who wish to enter the legal profession.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/04/the-accreditation-battle-over-canadas-first-christian-law-school.html

Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Comments

A school that teaches its students that homosexual behavior is neither wrongful nor immoral will not properly prepare lawyers for practice in the general real world community.

The phoney 'concern' that TWU’s admissions policy will have a discriminatory impact on gays and lesbians who wish to enter the legal profession can't get off the ground because TWU's entry into the market doesn't force any existing provider to close.

Posted by: Micha Elyi | Apr 25, 2016 3:13:44 AM