DEBATE! Can the LSUC's Statement of Principles survive a legal challenge?
Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, Canada
DEBATE: Be it resolved that the Law Society's Statement of Principles is an unjustified form of compelled speech.
PRO: Marni Soupcoff (writer, policy analyst), Bruce Pardy (Queen's University Faculty of Law).
CON: Adam Goldenberg (McCarthy Tétrault), Renatta Austin (Renatta Austin Law)
In a recent email to all lawyers and paralegals licensed in Ontario, the LSUC called the new requirement “mandatory,” describing it as follows:
"You will need to create and abide by an individual Statement of Principles that acknowledges your obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in your behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public. You will be asked to report on the creation and implementation of a Statement of Principles in your 2017 Annual Report."
According to the Law Society, “[t]he intention of the statement of principles is to demonstrate a personal valuing of equality, diversity, and inclusion with respect to the employment of others, or in professional dealings with other licensees or any other person." Critics of this new mandatory requirement consider it a form of unconstitutional compelled speech and ultra vires of the law society's statutory purpose. Supporters of the new policy consider it a modest declaration of one of the many professional obligations already required in the profession.
About the speakers:
Renatta Austin is the owner of the Eglinton West Law Office, where she practices family and criminal law, with an emphasis on child welfare issues. Renatta appears in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice on a near-daily basis for both trial-level work and appeals. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
Marni Soupcoff is a writer, policy analyst, and commentator. Her writing regularly appears in the National Post and Regulation magazine, and she has also been published in the Washington Post, New York Post, and Stanford Journal of International Law. She studied at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and received her J.D. from Stanford University. She was previously Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
Adam Goldenberg is a trial and appellate lawyer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto. He has twice served as a judicial law clerk — first to the judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and later to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at the Supreme Court of Canada. He acts in commercial disputes, class actions, and public law matters, as well as in criminal and regulatory proceedings. He also advises on a range of public policy issues at both the federal and provincial levels.
Bruce Pardy, Professor of Law at Queen’s University, is a wandering hedgehog with interests in environmental governance, property and tort theory, human rights and freedoms, culture wars and the rule of law. He has taught at law schools in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, practiced litigation at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto, served as adjudicator and mediator on the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, and is an occasional columnist for the National Post.
Join the Runnymede Society at Hart House, University of Toronto to hear these four outstanding debaters make the case for and against this proposition. Check out this CBC article "Law society's diversity policy 'most egregious' violation of freedom of speech: professor" to get a preview of the stances of a couple of the participants.
This debate is part of the Runnymede Society's Law & Freedom conference, at the same venue from January 12-13, 2018. For more information and to buy tickets for the full conference click here. (NOTE: Buying tickets for the full event or for Saturday's panels already includes this debate).
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