Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia

June 11, 2014 02:28 ET

Special Meeting of the Law Society of BC Sees Large Turnout, Clear Result

Individual Members of BC's Legal Profession Oppose a Law School at TWU

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 10, 2014) - Today's special meeting of the Law Society of BC was groundbreaking for the province and the legal profession, as nearly 4200 individual lawyers cast a vote on a matter that will impact British Columbia for many years to come.

"The special meeting of the Law Society was a very important process for our profession," said Richard Parsons, President of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. "The members sent a message loud and clear."

"The margin of today's vote mirrored the tally of votes by TLABC's officials, back on March 3, which led to our official submission on the matter," explained Parsons. "We didn't poll our entire membership, but our officers and governors weighed in with serious consideration and discussion. Our association's officers and governors held a special meeting, a process we carried out more than a month before the Benchers of the Law Society voted (April 11) to acknowledge a law school at Trinity Western University (TWU)."

"In our case, a majority of the members of our Executive Committee and Board of Governors voted, and 72% of them opposed TWU being approved as a law school. The margin of today's vote - at the special meeting of the Law Society of BC - was greater than 3 to 1 (3210 to 968) opposed to TWU being recognized as a law school."

"TLABC was a bellwether on this issue. Our officers and governors represent a good cross-section of the profession," said Parsons.

"It is important that we not rely solely upon precedents for a matter like this, as the world is an ever-changing and complicated place," Parsons continued. "The principle of stare decisis is very important in the day-to-day application of the law, but this matter transcends the profession. The BC Teachers versus TWU decision has been touted as precedent on this issue. The decision was made 13 years ago in reference to a different question and a different profession. The members of the LSBC have challenged the Benchers to carry out their mandate to protect the public and not accredit the law school at TWU. Lawyers have an obligation to stand up for equality."

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