Welcome to my blog! I hope you’ll visit regularly as I’ll be discussing many matters of interest to the public and our members, including aspects of the Law Society’s process regarding the accreditation of the Trinity Western University (TWU) law school for the purposes of the Law Society’s admission program.
This issue is an important one, and has been widely debated in private and public forums. With this heightened awareness, I think it is important to be able to talk to you directly, and provide information and background on how the Law Society is involved in this process.
This matter has proven to be a lightning rod for issues around both discrimination and religious freedom. The discussion has gone beyond a question of the legal merits of the case to an emotionally charged debate that pits two Charter rights against each other.
It’s a complex issue – one that lawyers are finding too difficult to come to a consensus. We are not unique in that lawyers in other provinces continue to struggle with this issue as well.
In this first post, I want to clarify the role of the Law Society, and my role as President. We devoted a page to this on our website, and I encourage you to take a look here for a detailed description. But in a nutshell, we are the self-regulating body of the legal profession in BC. We manage discipline and complaints against lawyers; we provide education and professional development and manage lawyers insurance. That’s all pretty straight forward.
But in the course of this debate, some believe we are also an agent for social change. Are we? There is nothing in the Legal Profession Act or in our Rules that suggests we are. Should we be? Clearly, some of our members think so. But that is just one of the many questions that have come up in the course of the discussion on this issue. Like I said, it’s complicated.
As a body, the Law Society only takes its position from Bencher decisions. The April 11 decision to go along with the Federation’s recommendations on TWU’s law school is the Law Society’s position on the matter. While many oppose that decision, many support it.
And so, the conversation continues. At their meeting on September 26, the Benchers will once again make an important decision on the accreditation of TWU’s law school graduates, and we are all looking forward to an open and respectful discussion on the matter.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to check this blog regularly for important updates.