Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 SCR 143

Mark David Andrews, a lawyer resident in British Columbia was refused membership in the provincial Law Society on the grounds that he was a British subject and lacked Canadian citizenship.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in its first major case involving the Charter’s Section 15(1) equality provision, decided that discrimination on the basis of citizenship indeed violated the equality guarantee, but could be justified in some situations in accordance with Section 1 of the Charter (the “reasonable limits” clause). In the case of Law Society membership, the court found that there was no justifiable reason to exclude individuals solely on the basis of citizenship status and declared the BC Law Society’s policy, insofar as it applied to Mr. Andrews and co-respondent Gorel Elizabeth Kinersly, to be unconstitutional.

Decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on February 2, 1989
Click here for the full text of the decision

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Filed under Section 15: Equality Rights

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