Law Society of Alberta Responds on TWU Law School Issue

By: Jennifer Koshan

PDF Version: Law Society of Alberta Responds on TWU Law School Issue

Back in February we posted a letter sent by signatories from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta law schools to the Law Society of Alberta concerning the process for approval of Trinity Western University (TWU)’s proposed new law school and the admission of TWU graduates as students at law in Alberta. We asked the Law Society to reconsider its delegation of decision making power to the Federation of Law Societies, or in the alternative, to work together with other Canadian law societies to consider amending the approval criteria to address the issues raised by TWU Law School and its Community Covenant. We received a response from Law Society of Alberta President Kevin Feth QC late last week. The letter: 

    • explains the rationale for the Law Society’s delegation to the Federation, focusing on the importance of national standards, mobility and the public interest
    • suggests the authority for that delegation lies in section 37(3) of the Legal Profession Act, RSA      2000, c L-8.
    • indicates that the Law Society communicated to the Federation and Canadian law societies in January “that a review of the existing criteria by the Federation is advisable”, including the possibility of a non-discrimination provision (though the Law Society takes no position on such a provision at this time),
    • reiterates  that the consultation on approval criteria should be national in scope,  and encourages our group to make submissions if and when the Federation  reviews the criteria.

A copy of the Law Society’s letter is available here.

With this letter, the Law Society of Alberta has distanced itself from the approaches taken by law societies in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. In these provinces, law societies did not delegate decision making on accreditation to the Federation, and they are all holding public consultations to inform their decisions. People in Alberta who are concerned about the issues surrounding TWU Law School will have to await a review of the approval criteria by the Federation.

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About Jennifer Koshan

B.Sc., LL.B (Calgary), LL.M. (British Columbia). Professor. Member of the Alberta Bar. Please click here for more information.
This entry was posted in Ethics and the Legal Profession, Human Rights, Legal Education. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Law Society of Alberta Responds on TWU Law School Issue

  1. Jennifer Koshan says:

    The Law Society of BC voted 20-6 in favour of accrediting graduates of the proposed TWU law school on Friday April 11, and an action challenging this decision was launched today, April 14. See http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-page/lawyers-challenge-bc-approval-of-trinity-western-law-school/article17957304/.

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