Another Opportunity for Religious Freedom Advocacy in TWU v LSBC Appeal

CLF Executive Director Derek Ross with CLF Board VP Shawn Smith at the B.C. Court of Appeal

CLF Executive Director Derek Ross with CLF Board VP Shawn Smith at the B.C. Court of Appeal

[*Update (April 19, 2016): CLF has filed its factum with the B.C. Court of Appeal.]

The British Columbia Court of Appeal granted CLF leave to intervene in the Trinity Western University v Law Society of British Columbia appeal. CLF was represented by Executive Director Derek Ross and Board Vice-President Shawn Smith at the application hearing. CLF had also intervened in the court below and is one of only a few organizations to have been granted standing in each of the proceedings involving TWU's proposed law school thus far. The B.C. appeal will be heard on June 1-3.

CLF anticipates making similar arguments in its written submissions to those made in Ontario and Nova Scotia (which you can read about here), with modification for the unique statutory context in B.C. and the specific arguments made by the parties and intervenors in B.C. 

In an earlier blog entry, we explained the reasoning of the B.C. Supreme Court, which ruled in TWU's favour. The lower court ruling was based primarily on administrative law grounds, with limited attention devoted to the substantive Charter issues (freedom of religion, expression, association, and equality) in the written judgement, though the Charter issues were a matter of significant debate during the hearing. 

We expect the Charter issues to receive due attention at the Court of Appeal hearing also. While CLF is of course interested in and will speak to the Charter issue of religious freedom before the Court of Appeal, we also have an interest in the administrative law question regarding the scope of the Law Society's jurisdiction. How far does its "duty to protect the public interest ... in the administration of justice" extend and what informs the content of that duty? That is an important question for CLF members subject to law societies' authority.