NSBS Council to review Federation's preliminary approval of TWU law program

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Memo from J. René Gallant, President, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
Friday, December 20, 2013

The Federation of Law Societies’ Canadian Common Law Program Approval Committee has completed its work regarding Trinity Western University’s (“TWU”) Proposed School of Law. 

Earlier this week, the Federation released the Committee’s final report regarding TWU’s proposed law school program. Preliminary approval has been granted by the Federation. We have also been provided with a report from the Federation’s Special Advisory Committee dealing with issues that fall outside of the Approval Committee’s mandate. On Wednesday, the Government of British Columbia granted permission for TWU to open a law faculty and offer a JD degree.

The Federation’s website contains these reports and other materials, including comments from TWU and a legal opinion relied on by the Federation. They are available at

The Society’s Executive Committee and Council are aware of the concerns expressed about the granting of approval of the TWU application for a law school and we are sensitive to the concerns about discrimination, in particular, in connection with the TWU Community Covenant Agreement.

As we have said from the time this issue arose, Council will take the time necessary to carefully consider the Federation’s reports, and determine what decisions are to be made by us, commencing at the next meeting of Council on January 24, 2014.

As the public-interest regulator of the legal profession in this province, it is critical for the Society to have a robust, transparent discussion about the legal and societal issues addressed in the Federation’s reports. This is even more important in the context of our strategic framework, which is examining the nature and extent of our role as a regulator, and in which the Society is committed to advocacy on the issue of access to justice for equity-seeking groups. The reasoning and decision making in the Federation reports is not the final word in the discussion here in Nova Scotia.

We encourage you to take part and have your voice heard. The reports and the materials referred to in them, including the legal opinions and analysis, will provide the basis for Council’s deliberations and, as always, Council welcomes input from members of the profession and from the public.

We invite communications to me directly at Emma Halpern, the Society’s Equity Officer, may also be contacted at

Best wishes for a safe and relaxing holiday season and a successful New Year.