CLF files intervener factum in joint appeals of Law Society of British Columbia v Trinity Western University and Brayden Volkenant and Trinity Western University and Brayden Volkenant v Law Society of Upper Canada. CLF's oral arguments will be heard during the appeals (Nov 30-Dec 1).
OTTAWA, ON - Yesterday, Christian Legal Fellowship ("CLF") filed its factum with the Supreme Court of Canada outlining why it is both unconstitutional and contrary to the public interest to exclude law graduates of Trinity Western University from the practice of law. Such exclusion is the effect of decisions made by the Law Societies of Upper Canada and British Columbia, based on their objections to religious aspects of Trinity Western's Community Covenant.
"In addition to violating the Charter rights of TWU and its students," CLF's factum explains, "the Decisions negatively impact the rights of all legal professionals, particularly those who adhere to minority beliefs. They stifle diversity of belief and independence of opinion in the legal profession. The Decisions breach the Law Societies’ duty to protect the public from the needless erosion of confidence in lawyers who share TWU’s beliefs, including members of CLF. These Decisions therefore undermine, rather than promote, the public interest."
The outcome of these appeals has the potential to be a watershed moment in the interpretation, application, and nature of religious freedom in Canada. CLF has been granted leave to also make oral arguments at the hearing of the appeals, which are scheduled for Nov 30-Dec 1.
To date, CLF has intervened in support of Trinity Western's proposed law school in all six cases at every level of court, including the matter of Trinity Western University v Nova Society Barristers' Society, which is not being appealed to the Supreme Court. CLF has urged each of these courts to adopt a robust and purposive reading of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by section 2 of the Charter, specifically highlighting the chilling effect that the law societies' narrow understanding of religious freedom will have on the legal profession throughout Canada. Both the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal adopted many of CLF's arguments and submissions in their respective rulings.
CLF will continue to advocate in support of a robust understanding of religious freedom for all Canadians, and that public interests in equality, diversity and pluralism include welcoming religious minorities as active participants in society.
To read the various court decisions and to see CLF’s intervention work in the TWU matters, please refer to the interventions page on CLF's website.
To read CLF's factum, click here.