WSO appeals Canadian Supreme Court in TWU case for equal standards of review

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Ottawa, Canada: WSO intervenes in the Canadian Supreme Court in the TWU -Trinity Western University case and pleads for equal standards of review for communities

WSO is on its heels intervening in cases involving communities other than Sikhs, in its true commitment to human rights and religious freedoms, following up on the Highwood Appeal in November 2017.  Appearing in the Supreme Court of Canada on the first day of December, in the seminal Trinity Western University appeal, WSO made submissions on the need to clarify administrative law principles concerning the standard of review that decisions of administrative bodies are subject to, when constitutional rights are implicated.

WSO counsels Balpreet Singh and Avnish Nanda argued that clarifying the appropriate standard of review in such instances will have impact beyond the TWU case, and have a lasting effect on how administrative decisions that infringe Charter values and rights are reviewed. They submitted that the same standard of review should apply in all situations where administrative decisions engage Constitutional matters.

Counsels Avnish Nanda and Balpreet Singh
Counsels Avnish Nanda and Balpreet Singh

The TWU case revolves around the decision of the BC and Ontario law societies not to accredit graduates from Trinity Western University’s law program because of the university’s community covenant.

The WSO was the only non-Christian intervener in the case and was granted intervenor status in the case by the Supreme Court of Canada.

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WSO President Mukhbir Singh said, “the WSO believes it is essential for the Sikh community’s perspective to be heard in important cases involving freedom of religion.  While in the TWU appeal we did not take a position on the merits of the case, our argument focused on the broader issue of the standard of review for Charter cases.  The issue of standard of review was key in cases like Multani and Loyola and will continue to have an impact in the future.  Our submissions focused on the argument that different standards of review should not apply depending on the nature of the constitutional question that is engaged.”

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