From Bar Leadership Skills

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‘Law’ and the #CharlieHebdo Mass Murder

According to the Wikipedia entry on depictions of Muhammad  “In Islam, although nothing in the Qur’an explicitly bans images, some supplemental hadith explicitly ban the drawing of images of any living creature; other hadith tolerate images, but never encourage them. Hence, most Muslims avoid visual depictions of Muhammad or any other prophet such as Moses…

B.C. Minister’s reason for revoking TWU’s J.D. hurts the legal academy

Virk revokes ministerial approval of twu’s j.d. program Opponents of Trinity Western University (TWU) in its bid to open a law school celebrated earlier this month when, on December 11, 2014, the British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk, revoked Trinity Western University’s authorization to grant undergraduate law degrees (J.D.).  He explained his decision as follows: Based on the current situation, I have decided to revoke my approval of the proposed law school at Trinity Western University. This means the university cannot enroll any students in its proposed program. The current uncertainty over the status of the regulatory body approval means…

Francisco_de_Goya_-_Escena_de_Inquisición_-_Google_Art_Project

Judges judging judges: The Douglas Inquiry exposed its flawed process

My recent post on the conclusion of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) Inquiry into the Douglas Inquiry urged for a better and clearer articulation of the reasons for removal of federally-appointed judges from office.   After realizing late that a procedure in the hands of her judicial colleagues was in fact a runaway train, the former Associate Chief Justice of…

Manning Award BW

Lawyers are for hire, not for sale: At stake in the 2015 LSUC Bencher Election

On April 30, 2015, lawyers in Ontario will exercise their duty to elect Benchers of the Law Society.  Bencher elections have historically seen glacial changes in the complement of Convocation, the governing council of Ontario’s legal profession.  As in many elections featuring low voter turn-out, incumbent candidates tend to say little of substance in their campaigns and…

Diversity Awareness and Cultural Competency as Core Skills for Canadian Lawyers

Later today, I will have the privilege of participating in a working group of the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism tasked with modernizing the basic principles of professionalism for lawyers.  High in priority is the importance of integrating equity, diversity and cultural competency into the package that lawyers must offer the public. Historically an afterthought The equity and diversity file has historically been an afterthought, tucked into the discussion after other ‘Wonder Bread’ aspects of professional merit are given full airing.  This has been a fault of those leading the discussion.  It is time to turn the agenda…

Stop letting the TWU controversy make fools of the Canadian bar

It came to my notice that my last post on the British Columbia Law Society’s handling of the accreditation of Trinity Western Law School may have appeared at odds with a prior entry encouraging a negotiated solution.  In the September 26 post, “B.C. Law Society abdicates self-governance in favour of non-governance,” I stated that the decision to refer the decision to a referendum before the expiry of a statutory 12-month period was an abdication of the Law Society’s duty to govern the affairs of the legal profession.  Further, the referendum option can only be invoked by a petition from the membership, not the governing…

B.C. Law Society abdicates self-governance in favour of non-governance

This afternoon, the Law Society of British Columbia voted 20-10 to hold a referendum on the issue of accreditation of the Trinity Western University.  This came after a vote of 9-21 against deciding to overturn its previous decision in April to grant accreditation.* That first motion arose from a non-binding resolution of a special general meeting of the entire B.C. Bar, held in June.  A third motion, to defer any decision, was obviated by the decision to hold a referendum. In deciding to hold a referendum, the B.C. benchers have abdicated their responsibility as the directors of a self-governing profession.  Either they…

End the Trinity Western Law School Deadlock without Litigation

On June 10, rank and file members of the Law Society of British Columbia voted to require their elected Benchers to reverse course on Trinity Western University’s bid for a new faith-based law school.  According to s. 13 of the B.C. Legal Profession Act, the vote is not binding on Benchers, at least for a grace period of 12 months.  If the Benchers do not implement the resolution within 12 months, they face the prospect of a referendum to be conducted in accordance with poll rules identical to that of a Bencher election, under art. 1-37 of the Law Society Rules (p.…