Trinity Western University’s battle over accreditation may be headed to the Supreme Court after its win this week at the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The appeal court decided in favour of the evangelical Christian school’s planned law faculty’s right to have its graduates accredited by the Law Society of British Columbia.
“I would be very surprised” if the Law Society of British Columbia didn’t appeal the decision to the highest court, says Raji Mangat, director of litigation for West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund, whose organization was one of several interveners in the case.
At issue in the case is the university’s community covenant with its students, which bans sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage as well as abortion. In a unanimous decision, though, a panel of five judges on B.C.’s appeals court found that the negative impact on the school’s religious freedoms would be “severe,” whereas accreditation of the university’s law school would have a minimal effect on lesbian and gay rights, and therefore would not help the B.C. law society meet public interest objectives.