New Brunswick law society votes against controversial B.C. Christian law school

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Members of the Law Society of New Brunswick voted against accrediting a controversial Christian law school in B.C.

      At a special general meeting held on September 13, members voted 137 to 30 for council not to approve Trinity Western University's law school. The result of the vote, which is not binding, will be taken to the next council meeting.

      The New Brunswick law society had previously accredited the school on June 27 after a vote of 14 to 5. However, the special meeting was held after more than 200 members signed a petition in opposition to the accreditation.

      In response to the vote, TWU School of Law Executive Director Earl Phillips issued a statement in a news release: “A person’s ability to study and practise law should not be questioned because of beliefs or faith commitments. There is no evidence to suggest that the religious beliefs that guide TWU would affect the ability of its law graduates to serve all clients.”

      TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold stated: "The resolution does not reflect Canada’s historic commitments to respect for diverse groups. It is disappointing that a resolution would pass that would compromise Canada's commitment to freedoms of conscience, religion, belief, expression and association."

      The Christian university, based in Langley, B.C., has raised debate across the nation because it requires students to sign a covenant that prohibits sexual intimacy outside the marriage between a man and a woman. Critics have raised concerns that the convenant discriminates against same-sex relationships.

      The New Brunswick vote follows in the footsteps of the B.C. law society vote.

      B.C. granted accreditation in April but at a special general meeting held in June, members voted against the decision (3,210 to 968). The vote was non-binding.

      Law societies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nunavut have all granted the university accreditation.

      Ontario and Nova Scotia denied the school accreditation. The school has launched court challenges against those decisions.

      The law school is slated to open in 2016. It will be the first Christian law school in Canada.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at




      Sep 15, 2014 at 11:31am

      Mr. Fassbender (the "Promise Keeper") must be in a lather about this.


      Sep 15, 2014 at 12:30pm

      Any School that discriminates based on Religion, Race or any other factor ought to be ostracised.

      Can you please explain to the lay person any legal Jurisdictional aspects of out of Province bodies voting (non-binding votes) against a BC Law School acredited so far by the Province of BC.

      Most students studying Law in BC would end up practising here as the Rules & Procedures they learn are mostly BC specific.

      Further the Bar exam determines getting a License obviously if you applied outside of BC where they don't and/or refuse to recognise you Law School your hooped.

      But students can make that decision based on where they see their careers starting, if you really want to practice Law in NB why not go to Law School there or really close by instead of BC.


      Sep 15, 2014 at 2:25pm

      Funny, I thought a law society would abide by the law instead of giving in to hysterical left wing rhetoric based only on personal likes and dislikes. I guess perception is more important than legalities.


      Sep 15, 2014 at 2:33pm

      attn: TWU
      You can be morally reprehensible without having your students sign an unenforceable contract. Maybe try preaching to your students instead of threatening them with a signed covenant.


      Sep 15, 2014 at 3:06pm

      Mr. Phillips paints a dismal picture of anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination and bigotry.

      Too bad it's a lie.

      This outcome--and the ones in Ontario, Nova Scotia and elsewhere, have nothing to do with whether a Christian can be a good lawyer. Moreover, Christians are admitted to all Canadian law schools across the country without discrimination. TWU would be just one more.

      This issue is specifically whether TWU can exclude students for being and living openly gay. This is what TWU seeks to do, through a bizarre coercive covenant, in order to control its law students private personal lives outside of the classroom.

      Rick in Richmond

      Sep 15, 2014 at 7:09pm

      Mr Phillips of TWU declares, “There is no evidence to suggest that the religious beliefs that guide TWU would affect the ability of its law graduates to serve all clients.”

      Actually, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest precisely that. TWU appeals to a small band of Christians within a very wide -- and conflicting -- set of traditions and theologies. Within that band they discriminate further by demanding in their Covenant a strict adherence to an exclusively heterosexual notion of union. So far, they have not opposed dancing.

      TWU demands that its law grads must meet their special standards, or they may not even apply, much less graduate.

      It is only right to assume that TWU law grads -- if sincere in their beliefs -- will apply this same judgmental standard to their prospective clients. If they actually believe their clients will go to Hell except for their personal salvation via TWU standards, how can they possibly provide honest representation?

      Consider: "I think your lifestyle dooms you to perpetual torment and agony in the Seventh Circle of Hell. However, for the right price, I will represent you in court anyway."

      Mr Phillips' own Covenant demands nothing less. Or, they are turning out rank hypocrites. TWU Law cannot have it both ways.


      Sep 15, 2014 at 8:50pm

      If you want to have a real discussion about the over-reach of University conduct policies, that is fine---the problem is that the "progressives" are just as guilty of this over-reach as the "conservatives." Every University has an extra-legal (that is to say, illegal) code of conduct that is imposed upon its students without being specifically legislated---that is to say, the Universities arrogate unto themselves the power of making quasi-criminal legislation, the effect of which is to bar students from campus if they do not comply.

      I am fine with calling TWU's code of conduct immoral---but only because every code of conduct is immoral. How is it that we can trust _any_ lawyer that goes to a law school with a code of conduct above and beyond what parliament has legislated? The situation is obvious: there is no rule of law in Canada. What we have is "rule of lawyers", especially those who run Universities. They impose whatever obligations they want upon students knowing full well that students are going to be too poor/too busy to fight them. Plus, the servility-inducing K-12 education leads students to believe that there are "administrative obligations".

      Keep in mind that it's only conduct policies that prevent students from, for example, voicing their faith-based opinions about abortion, homosexuality, women's rights, etc. It's not illegal for someone to express his view, for example, that a woman shouldn't be allowed to divorce without her husband's permission, that homosexuality is an offense which should be punished by death and that women are inferior to men. None of those statements are illegal to make orally---they are merely prescribed by codes of conduct because _all parties_ believe in a politicized, propaganda filled education system where speech/action is constrained for the sake of advancing a political agenda.

      It's sort of funny that TWU has taken the whole "code of conduct" thing, which was introduced by left-leaning authoritarians in order to sanitize the University environment, and turned it on its head. This is a good example of why we should beware authority, even when it is being used to force others to do what we know is right, like support gay rights. The same apparatus may one day be used to support something wrong, y'know.