Law Society of B.C. to hold binding referendum on Trinity Western law school
Lawyers will vote in October on whether to accredit the faith-based law school
The governing members of the Law Society of British Columbia have decided to hold a binding referendum to determine the future of a faith-based law school at Trinity Western University.
The board members, who are known as benchers, voted on Friday morning to hold the referendum at the earliest possible date, with the results to be released by the end of October.
The move comes after members of the society triggered a non-binding vote earlier this year that effectively overturned the benchers' April decision to accredit the new law school at the Fraser Valley university.
On Friday morning, the benchers also rejected two other motions — to adopt the results of the previous all-members vote or to wait for the courts to decide the matter.
The law school, which is due to open in 2016, has come under fire because of the Christian covenant TWU students must sign. The covenant states that sexual relations are to be confined within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman.
Critics say that discriminates against anyone involved in an LGBTQ relationship.
Other provinces have also weighed in on Trinity Western University:
- The Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario voted against approving the law school earlier this spring.
- The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society granted conditional acceptance if the school changes the covenant for law students or allows them to opt out.
Trinity Western has launched a court action challenging those decisions.
Trinity Western University was given approval for its law school program by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in December 2013. The federation said it would be up to provincial law societies to decide whether or not they would recognize degrees from the school.