In the background materials posted on the Law Society website for Convocation in December of 2017, a brief of supportive letters was included. None of the many letters written by lawyers and legal associations which expressed concern about the Statement of Principles, or the EDI initiative generally, were included.
All submitted content reflects the opinions of the writer only, and not necessarily those of the StopSOP team.
Please include your full name and location of practice, and provide a Word version of your letter, if possible.
Forward submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mar5MonMarch 5, 2018 Joseph StarkmanThe Law Society has no right or authority to require the adoption of a prescribed set of principles. Principles are, by definition, beliefs. Beliefs cannot be compelled upon a person's conscience, either morally, legally or practically. Historically, only totalitarians have pretended otherwise. Requiring this declaration and the preparation of a statement of principles it contemplates violates my freedom of conscience, belief, thought, opinion and religion. In addition, it violates my freedom of expression insofar as it requires me to affirmatively state my allegiance to the favoured causes. Furthermore, requiring a "correct" opinion or belief can never be justified in a free society; on the contrary, it is anathema to it. I object to this requirement as, among other things, unconstitutional and otherwise beyond the power of the Law Society to prescribe, as well as being vague and ill-defined.
As Justice Robert Jackson stated in striking down, in time of an existential war, a compelled declaration far more defensible under the circumstances than this one:
"[N]o official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
Mar4SunMarch 4, 2018 Murray KlippensteinI am writing to you as Benchers to express my profoundest concerns about the “Statement of Principles” decision of the Benchers of December 2, 2016 regarding Recommendation 3(1) of the Working Group, dealing with “Diversity and Inclusion”. More than that, I have reviewed in great detail the Law Society’s process and decision on the issue, including the transcript of the Law Society’s proceedings of December 2, and it seems to me based on the way things went that the Law Society’s position is now firm and fixed and straightforward – “sign the paper”! I am therefore advising you, to be clear, that I will not “sign the paper”, not now, not ever. You can activate your “compliance” measures against me. You can initiate disbarment proceedings against me if you want. Whatever. I will not sign. Let the chips fall where they may.
Feb23FriFebruary 23, 2018Pre-eminent lawyer, former Bencher, and recipient of the LSUC's highest honour - The Law Society Medal, Earl Cherniak Q.C. shares the comment he has submitted on his Annual Report along with his "NO" to the Statement of Principles:
“I, and my firm, abide by and indeed exceed the requirements of the laws of Ontario and Canada, and the Rules of Professional Conduct of the LSUC with respect to diversity, equality and inclusion. My personal views and practice on these issues are my own, based on my upbringing and my personal moral code, and they are obvious to anyone who knows or works with me. They are only incidentally related to the fact that I am a lawyer. I reject the idea that the LSUC, or anyone can require me to sign or affirm a statement of my principles, much less a 'Statement of Principles.'”
Feb21WedFebruary 21, 2018Correspondence between Hon. Doug Lewis, Counsel, and Paul Schabas, Treasurer of the Law Society, regarding the lack of due process and proper procedure.