Langley university loses provincial consent for law school

TWU no longer has consent to offer a law degree program, but the president of the Langley university has indicated he may not go down without a fight.

Amrik Virk, Advanced Education Minister for B.C., today revoked the consent he had previously given for Trinity Western University to offer the program.

Virk consented to a law degree being offered at the Langley university in December 2013 after his ministry conducted an extensive review of the program.

But law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia indicated they would not accept lawyers graduating from the TWU program.

And after the Law Society of BC reversed its initial approval of the program on Oct. 31 – a membership revolt forced the society’s benchers to reconsider – Virk indicated that he would reconsider his approval.

Today, Virk decided against TWU.

"Based on the current situation," Virk announced, "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 prospective graduates may not be able to be called to the bar or practise law in British Columbia," he explained. "This is a significant change to the

context in which I made my original decision."

TWU President Bob Kuhn said the university is disappointed with Virk’s decision.

“It is difficult to conceive of a justifiable basis for the Minister to have revoked his approval of the school of law program," he said. "As a private Christian University, Trinity Western has demonstrated its place in Canada’s academic community, delivering some of Canada’s highest ranked professional programs. We believe in diversity and the rights of all Canadians to their beliefs and values."

Khun said TWU remains commited to having a law school, adding that the university will "now have to carefully consider all our options.”

Although it is not TWU’s wish to engage in another legal battle, Kuhn said, “There are such important rights and freedoms at stake that we may have no choice but to seek protection of them in court.”

Virk himself left a door open for TWU, saying, "Once the legal issues are resolved, TWU will have the option to renew

its request for consent."

Trinity Western University is a private Christian university with its campus near Fort Langley. It started as a junior college 52 years ago and has built itself up to university status, offering 42 bachelor’s degrees, 17 graduate degrees, and adult degree-completion programs.

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