Law Society of Upper Canada: Statement on Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision on TWU

TORONTO – On June 29, 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed Trinity Western University's (TWU) appeal of the Divisional Court's decision upholding the Law Society's denial of accreditation of TWU's proposed law school.

The reasons for the unanimous decision of the Court were written by Justice MacPherson and agreed to by Justices Cronk and Pardu.

“We are pleased that the Court recognized the Law Society's role in preventing and removing discriminatory barriers to access to the legal profession and, as the Court put it, “the desirable goal of promoting a diverse profession.”  (2016 ONCA 518, at para.108)

As the Court said “...one of the LSUC statutory objectives is to ensure the quality of those who practice law in Ontario. Quality is based on merit, and merit excludes discriminatory classifications.” (2016 ONCA 518, at para.109)

On the question of whether the Law Society balanced its role and its impact on TWU, the Court asked itself whether the Law Society of Upper Canada's decision was reasonable. It said that “…the answer to this question is “'Yes', indeed 'Clearly yes'”. (2016 ONCA 518, at para.129)

Paul Schabas
Treasurer, The Law Society of Upper Canada

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