For Immediate Release - January 9, 2015
Law Society Council Upholds Decision to Accredit TWU Law School
Fredericton – The motion to rescind the decision of Council of June 27, 2014, was not defeated, but it was not successful. There is a difference.
Following passionate arguments from both sides, the vote was held. The result was a tied vote 12 votes to 12. President of the Law Society of New Brunswick, Hélène L. Beaulieu, Q.C., FCIP, said “This result is indicative of the difficult issue that the Courts will have to decide.”
Beaulieu said, “There have been major recent developments that cast the future of the law school in serious doubt. First, the BC Law Society has reversed an earlier decision to accredit the university. Second, the BC government has withdrawn its support for the law school pending the results of multiple court challenges that will delay the start of a law school indefinitely. The BC government says continuing support would have resulted in a school turning out graduates who would not be permitted to practice in BC.
Beaulieu said, “Council’s priority is protection of the public interest and in this case ensuring our profession represents all of the communities that lawyers serve. As well, the Law Society has additional safeguards to ensure both religious freedom and the right to sexual orientation without discrimination.”
Beaulieu said, “The result of the decision demonstrates the difficulty Council was faced with.”
On June 27, 2014, Council of the Law Society voted to accredit Trinity Western University’s proposed law school program by a vote of 14 to 5. Following the approval, Council received a request for a Special General Meeting which was held on Saturday, September 13, 2014. During the Special General Meeting, members of the Law Society passed a resolution by a vote of 137 to 30 directing Council not to approve Trinity Western University’s Law school as a faculty of law. The resolution passed at the Special General Meeting does not bind Council because the Act and the General Rules assign exclusive authority to Council to accredit law school programs.
1. The following notice of motion was filed with the Law Society of New Brunswick, and will be considered at the January 9, 2015, Council meeting at 10 a.m. at the Law Society office located at 68 Avonlea Court, Fredericton, NB:
“BE IT RESOLVED THAT
Council rescinds the following resolution adopted by Council on June 27, 2014:
Council accepts the report of the Federation Approval Committee, that, subject to the concerns and comments noted in the report, the TWU program will meet the national requirement and thereby approves the proposed law school at Trinity Western University pursuant to paragraph 22(3)(b) of the General Rules under the Law Society Act, 1996.
with the result that the law school program proposed by Trinity Western University is not a program approved by Council for the purposes of paragraph 22(3)(b) of the General Rules under the Law Society Act, 1996.”
2. All material received up to October 29, 2014, will be part of the record of consideration for the January 9, 2015, Council meeting. The materials are categorized as follows:
A. COUNCIL MEETING MATERIALS - JUNE 27, 2014
a) Letter from bâtonnière Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, Q.C., president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, dated December 16, 2013
b) Canadian Common Law Program Approval Committee report on Trinity Western University’s proposed School of Law Program (December 2013) - Federation of Law Societies of Canada
c) Special Advisory Committee report on Trinity Western’s Proposed School of Law (December 2013) - Federation of Law Societies of Canada
d) Letter from Bob Kuhn, J.D., president of Trinity Western University, dated January 8, 2014
e) Memorandum from Marc L. Richard, Q.C., executive director, to Council of the Law Society of New Brunswick, dated January 28, 2014
f) Memorandum from Marc L. Richard, Q.C., executive director, to Council of the Law Society of New Brunswick, dated March 12, 2014
g) Written submissions received by the Law Society of New Brunswick (as of April 30, 2014)
h) Trinity Western University's written submission to the Law Society of New Brunswick dated May 30, 2014
i) June 27, 2014, Council meeting minutes
j) Audio recording of the June 27, 2014, Council meeting
B. MATERIALS RECEIVED AFTER JUNE 27, 2014, COUNCIL MEETING BUT BEFORE SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2014
a) Letter from David M. Lutz, Q.C., dated August 14, 2014
b) Petition for a Special General Meeting received August 14, 2014
c) Special General Meeting Notice
d) Petition from law students received September 11, 2014
e) Correspondence received after June 27, 2014, Council meeting - 938 emails and letters
f) Special General Meeting minutes (September 13, 2014)
g) September 13, 2014, Special General Meeting audio recording
i. PowerPoint Presentation from Lorena A. Henry during Special General Meeting
ii. Rick Mercer video clip on Teen Suicide (shown by Brenda J. Lutz, Q.C., during the Special General Meeting)
C. MATERIALS RECEIVED AFTER SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2014
a) Correspondence received after the Special General Meeting began up to October 29, 2014 - 1,355 emails and letters
3. Trinity Western University was invited to provide a written submission to Council which must be filed with the Law Society of New Brunswick by December 31, 2014.
4. No other materials except those enumerated in 2 and 3 will be considered by Council.
5. No oral presentation can be made at the January 9, 2015, Council meeting.
6. Council members must be present in person at the meeting in order to be entitled to vote.