Society response to Court of Appeal’s decision in TWU matter

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(July 26, 2016) – The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal released its decision today in the matter between the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and Trinity Western University (TWU).

The Court dismissed the Society’s appeal of a January 28, 2015 ruling by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, on the basis that the regulation relating to the Society’s conditional approval of TWU’s proposed law school is ultra vires, in other words beyond its current authority in the Legal Profession Act

“We received the decision today and we’re reviewing it carefully with our legal counsel,” Society President R. Daren Baxter QC, TEP said upon the decision's release.

“The Court chose not to deal with the Charter issues relating to equality and freedom of religion,” he said, adding it’s significant that although the Court ruled the regulation enacted by the Society is ultra vires, it also noted at paragraph 84:

The Council may frame a properly worded regulation that establishes requirements based on features of the articling applicant’s law school.

“The Society is currently engaged in a review of its legislation as part of our Legal Services Regulation initiative,” said Mr. Baxter. “That process will now specifically address the issues addressed by the Court.”

The appeal hearing took place on April 6, 7 and 8, 2016, with arguments from the Society, TWU and numerous intervenors appearing on behalf of both parties. The Court’s 29-page ruling is now available on the Decisions page of the Courts of Nova Scotia website at

For more information, visit the Society’s TWU matter webpage for links to appeal facta and other legal briefs, Council documents and details on the extensive public input process.