B.C. Law Society votes against Trinity Western

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture
B.C. Law Society votes against Trinity Western

Smile

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I attended the satellite meeting in Nanaimo to register my vote.

Quote:

On June 10, 2014, the members of the Law Society passed a resolution at a special general meeting directing the Benchers to declare that the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purposes of the Law Society’s admission program.

The resolution was passed in a 3,210 to 968 vote.

While section 13 of the Legal Profession Act sets out that a resolution at a general meeting is not binding on the Benchers except as provided under that section, Benchers will give this resolution serious and thoughtful consideration.

https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/newsroom/highlights.cfm#c3925

Unionist

Bravo!

 

ghoris

I voted at the main meeting in Vancouver but regrettably did not have time to hear the speeches beforehand.

It seems to me that this issue will end up before the Supreme Court, regardless of what the benchers decide to do.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

ghoris wrote:

I voted at the main meeting in Vancouver but regrettably did not have time to hear the speeches beforehand. It seems to me that this issue will end up before the Supreme Court, regardless of what the benchers decide to do.

That is most certainly true and they will be joined as a party no matter what. It is important to have the Law Society on the proper side of the courtroom and not seated WITH Trinity Western trying to defend discrimination.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is part of the speech of the mover of the Motion.

Quote:

"I am a lesbian lawyer," findlay began. "I am very proud to be standing here for the first time in the history of the Western world that an entire legal profession is here to consider the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lawyers."

The controversy over Trinity Western's proposed law school stems from the evangelical Christian university's "community covenant," which students agree to sign upon enrolling. Among other things, the covenant calls for students to abstain from sexual intimacy that "violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman." The school's detractors argue that this provision effectively bans gay and lesbian students from attending.

The school and its supporters argue that the covenant is a matter of religious freedom, and that the society refusing to accept the school's graduates as lawyers would constitute discrimination on the basis of religion. Law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia have already voted not to approve Trinity Western's law school, decisions the school is challenging in court.

Passionate pleas from all sides

Other speakers at Tuesday's meeting would take a narrower, more technical approach to these arguments, but findlay's remarks were expansive and personal. She spoke about becoming a lawyer in 1973 and the challenges she has faced before and since.

"Many lesbians, including me, were locked up in mental hospitals in the '60s because we were lesbians," findlay said. "That was the reason that I had to get what you probably didn't need -- a sanity certificate -- in order to practice law."

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/06/11/Trinity-Western-Law-School-Voted-Down/

Boze

Why should so-called "progressives" defend something like the Legal Profession Act? Why should lawyers be in charge of governing lawyers and why should lawyers have any say in law school accreditations? I understand wanting to strike a blow for equality. I think Trinity Western is a repugnant institution but surely the best recourse is to encourage students who sign the so-called "covenant" to simply flout the thing. Many will no doubt disagree.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WHo do you think should govern lawyers professional body? Who should govern the professional bodies of Doctors, archetechs, engineers dentist etc etc?

Captain Obvious

Boze wrote:

 I think Trinity Western is a repugnant institution but surely the best recourse is to encourage students who sign the so-called "covenant" to simply flout the thing. Many will no doubt disagree.

Because it is important for institutions as well as individuals to directly reject prejudice and inequality. It sends the symbolic message that such approaches are not acceptable in our society as a whole. A neutral institution in this case tacitly supports this bigotry.

There are a lot of times where individual action is important, and the only available strategy. But in this case, an organized, collective response by the association underlines fundamental values of fairness which are supposed to form the bedrock of Canadian values. If we want people to take acceptance seriously, the powers that be also have to walk the walk.

Boze

kropotkin1951 wrote:

WHo do you think should govern lawyers professional body? Who should govern the professional bodies of Doctors, archetechs, engineers dentist etc etc?

I don't really see why anybody should, but I know who it should not be, and that's doctors, archetects, engineers and dentists. They're obviously going to govern their professions in THEIR own interests. For example, it isn't in lawyers' interests to have to compete with every joe schmoe who calls himself a lawyer. The less competition lawyers have the more they can charge. This isn't necessarily in the public interest no matter how selflessly some lawyers may think they are acting.

Boze

I don't think graduates of this school deserve to be punished for the school's decision. If the school were democratically run then it might begin to make sense.

Captain Obvious

Boze wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

WHo do you think should govern lawyers professional body? Who should govern the professional bodies of Doctors, archetechs, engineers dentist etc etc?

I don't really see why anybody should, but I know who it should not be, and that's doctors, archetects, engineers and dentists. They're obviously going to govern their professions in THEIR own interests. For example, it isn't in lawyers' interests to have to compete with every joe schmoe who calls himself a lawyer. The less competition lawyers have the more they can charge. This isn't necessarily in the public interest no matter how selflessly some lawyers may think they are acting.

But by the same token, the public is also protected by a general assumption of competancy that comes with recognition of professional credentials. It is certainly not impossible that someone could self-teach themselves to this basic competency in Law, but there are quite a few who would not be able to do so. It protects us from charlatanism. If not, sure as the sun rises tomorrow, a lot of less than scrupulous characters would billing themselves as lawyers or doctors, with attendant chaos resulting.

I'll certainly grant you that a degree and recognition in such bodies does not necessarily indicate competence. There are a lot of bad lawyers with degrees. But it does indicate a much higher chance that the skills and knowledge I'd be looking for in going to a lawyer or doctor are present.

Captain Obvious

Boze wrote:

I don't think graduates of this school deserve to be punished for the school's decision. If the school were democratically run then it might begin to make sense.

No one made them go there. They could have chosen a law school with full accreditation.

Perhaps this is an unfair observation, and if so, I will be swiftly called on it. But my thought would be that any student who goes to this school is fully aware of their bigoted philosophy, likely to share it, and is hoping that they can get the official stamp of approval for it with professional accreditation. In other words, I don't have much sympathy when the prejudiced get screwed for being prejudiced.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This law school has not startred yet so there are no students affected by this decision. If in the future students choose to attend it will be with full knowledge that the Law Socities in BC and some other provinces will not recognize their degree. Students could also get a mail-in "law degree" from an on line site but the Law Society would not recognize that either.

As for lawyers fees I if you think the lawyer is getting the whole fee and doesn't have to pay for rent and utilities and insurance and staff then you don't understand the business end of the equation.

Boze

I think that the entire system of education and accreditation primarily benefits those who set the thing up - educational institutions included. It raises their power and prestige and importance, as well as their incomes. I understand the argument about protecting the public from charlatans, but really it just protects the established charlatans from competition. Over 90% of a university education is in most cases a complete waste of time designed to create obedient and uncritical professionals and to empower and enrich those who set the thing up. What would Peter Kropotkin have to say about lawyers deciding who gets to practice law, or teachers deciding who gets to teach?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Boze that is a good debate but could you please open a thread about it.  I put this in the activism thread because I wanted to celebrate a small victory against prejudice not debate the merits of professional organizations.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is the latest from the Law Society.

Quote:

Bencher meeting, June 13, 2014

On Friday, the Benchers discussed how they should consider the results of the special general meeting held on June 10. A number of questions were raised about whether any reconsideration of their April 11 decision would require the Benchers to invite further submissions, how section 13 of the Legal Profession Act would apply and the relevance to their decision of events, such as the current litigation, that have occurred since their April decision. After some consideration, the Benchers agreed to more fully discuss these issues at their July meeting and to place on the agenda for their September meeting consideration of a motion to implement the resolution of the members passed at the special general meeting. The Benchers remain committed to a fair, thorough and transparent process in their further consideration of this important issue.

Unionist

And best of all:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/12/12/christian_law_school_loses.... government withdraws consent for Christian law school[/url]

Quote:

The province’s Advanced Education Minister, Amrik Virk, released a statement Thursday evening, saying he has written Trinity Western University and told the Fraser Valley institution that it cannot enrol students in the program slated to open in 2016.

Merry Christmas!

mersh

An excellent second night of Hanukkah gift, albeit a bit tricky to explain to my eight-year old! Laughing

NorthReport

Wonderful news - thanks Unionist.

6079_Smith_W

Not so tricky... how can they claim to be a law school if they can't follow the law?

And on issues of orientation and equality and acceptance, I'd say eight year olds are probably a lot more on the ball than most adults.

Very good news.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

As has been noted in the thread on the niqab this decision has now been over turned on an adminstrative law basis. The following article does a good job of explaining what I was reiterating in the other thread. 

Quote:

In a statement on the Law Society website society president Ken Walker said: "This decision is important to the public and the legal profession. We will be reviewing the Reasons for Judgment carefully and consulting with our legal counsel regarding next steps."

Mulligan says they have two choices: either appeal the decision, which could take another year or so to settle, or simply do it the right way this time and have the benchers revisit Trinity's accreditation with the proper debate and rescind it.

"The judgment doesn't prevent that," said Mulligan, "[it] doesn't find that the university's policies are appropriate, nor does it find the Law Society is obliged to approve them. It just finds that the approach that the benchers took to come to the final conclusion of rejecting them wasn't appropriate." 

http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/12/11/Trinity-Western-Uncertain-Future/

Justin_Thyme

Wow. Due process works every time.

And when it doesn't, resort to Dirty Tricks.

Unionist

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/tru-law-school-society-1.... Western fight back in court today: Law Society appeals decision[/url]

Quote:

Lawyers for the Law Society of British Columbia will be in the Court of Appeal to fight a B.C. Supreme Court decision issued last December.

In that decision, the judge ruled the Law Society board had acted improperly when it held a 2014 referendum on the status of the proposed law school's graduates.

That referendum had overturned a decision to approve accreditation for TWU graduates.

The referendum was launched by Law Society members who wanted to deny accreditation to the Trinity Western University law school because of a covenant prospective students must sign prohibiting "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman."

Opponents say the covenant discriminates against homosexuals and a school training members of the legal profession must not impose standards that violate the Charter of Rights.

 

Unionist

The hateful scions of Trinity Western suffer another well-deserved setback:

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-appeal-court-uphold... Appeal Court upholds law society’s stand on Trinity Western University[/url]

Quote:
The Ontario Court of Appeal has rejected a Christian law school’s bid for recognition in the province, calling its prohibition on sexual activity between same-sex married couples degrading and reminiscent of similar rules singling out blacks and interracial couples in the United States.

Well done, judiciary, where cowardly governments fear to tread! And may Trinity Western be gathered unto the bosom of their Lord, having passed through the eye of a needle, as soon as is medically feasible!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Yes a good win at the Ontario Court of Appeal, there is no doubt this is going to the Supreme Court of Canada. If we win there then the provinces that have accredited the law school (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) will have to change their decision to accredit this homophobic institution and follow the ruling.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

This is worth reading again to remember what was at stake.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Here is part of the speech of the mover of the Motion.

Quote:

"I am a lesbian lawyer," findlay began. "I am very proud to be standing here for the first time in the history of the Western world that an entire legal profession is here to consider the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lawyers."

The controversy over Trinity Western's proposed law school stems from the evangelical Christian university's "community covenant," which students agree to sign upon enrolling. Among other things, the covenant calls for students to abstain from sexual intimacy that "violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman." The school's detractors argue that this provision effectively bans gay and lesbian students from attending.

The school and its supporters argue that the covenant is a matter of religious freedom, and that the society refusing to accept the school's graduates as lawyers would constitute discrimination on the basis of religion. Law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia have already voted not to approve Trinity Western's law school, decisions the school is challenging in court.

Passionate pleas from all sides

Other speakers at Tuesday's meeting would take a narrower, more technical approach to these arguments, but findlay's remarks were expansive and personal. She spoke about becoming a lawyer in 1973 and the challenges she has faced before and since.

"Many lesbians, including me, were locked up in mental hospitals in the '60s because we were lesbians," findlay said. "That was the reason that I had to get what you probably didn't need -- a sanity certificate -- in order to practice law."

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/06/11/Trinity-Western-Law-School-Voted-Down/