The Law Society of British Columbia violated the rights of Trinity Western University students when it withdrew approval for a controversial law school at the Langley campus.
The claim is contained in a statement announcing TWU will sue the Law Society over its Oct. 31 decision to withdraw recognition of the planned law school at the private Christian university.
The society regulates the more than 11,000 practising lawyers in the province.
“We have no choice but to proceed legally,” said TWU president Bob Kuhn.
“By prejudging our future law graduates not on their qualifications but the Community Covenant they agree to abide by while students at TWU, the Law Society has infringed on the human rights of TWU and its students.”
The law society reversed its decision following a province-wide vote of lawyers in the province, most of whom object to the covenant that makes students and staff promise they won’t get involved in any relationship other than a married, heterosexual one.
Critics say the covenant is anti-gay and conflicts with a lawyer’s duty to represent anyone regardless of their beliefs.
The TWU statement announcing the intention to sue said the Law Society’s decision to rescind its prior approval was “not grounded on the quality of the TWU academic program, but rather was based on TWU’s religious view of marriage.”
Kuhn noted the university won a similar court fight in 2001 over its teacher training program when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled “there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the religious views of TWU graduates lessen their competence to practice their profession in Canada’s pluralistic society.”
Kuhn added the covenant also says that “all students and faculty are to love and respect other people, regardless of their background or personal characteristics. TWU is a community of diversity and acceptance. This campus is a Christian home for four thousand students with an array of opinions and beliefs.”
The provincial advanced education minister has also rescinded approval of the TWU school.