PROTECTING THE PUBLIC INTEREST:
LAW SOCIETY DECISION-MAKING AFTER TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY
Keywords:Trinity Western University, Legal Profession Act, Law Society Act, Federation of Law Societies of Canada, freedom of religion, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, self-regulation, LGBTQ, Discrimination, Doré/Loyola framework, public interest mandate
Can current law society policy-making structures effectively assess and advance the public interest? This article considers whether law societies can fulfill their mandate to regulate in the public interest when benchers make policy decisions in hard cases, using the Canadian law societies’ response to Trinity Western University’s (“TWU”) attempt to open a law school as a case study. In our view, the TWU case highlights the structural obstacles that can impede the law societies’ accomplishment of their public interest mandate. We conclude that current law society decision-making structures create significant challenges and suggest several changes that could enhance the public interest decision-making of the law societies.