At the Supreme Court of Canada

Cynthia Maughan v University of British Columbia et al Leave to Appeal

[Christian Academic Freedom and Human Rights in Canadian Universities and Colleges; Religion in Schools; Religious Curriculum]

Religious Freedoms, University Acts,

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Civil Rights Protection Act

Cynthia L. Maughan v University of British Columbia et al

(2008 BCSC, 2009 BCCA, 2010 Supreme Court of Canada)

LEGAL TEAMS for the University and the Faculty:

Counsel for the Faculty: Joseph J. Arvay, O.C.,O.B.C, Q.C. and Bruce Elwood

Counsel for the University: Thomas A. Roper, Q.C. and Jennifer Russell

The Applicant: Cynthia Maughan, M.A., Self-represented, English Student

Joseph Arvay, O.C., O.B.C, Q.C.,considered the best public law lawyer in Canada, fighting multiple landmark cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, died suddenly on December 7, 2020. Although I didn’t know him except in an adversarial role over the years that this case went on, he was always respectful. Only God can judge our hearts.


Leave to Appeal ARGUMENT

Statement of FACTS

LEGAL QUESTIONS Asked to be Resolved at SCC

REPLY to UBC and Faculty Responses to Leave to Appeal Argument

MOTION to Adduce New Evidence

REPLY TO MOTION to Adduce New Evidence

Key Issues

A Christian Student’s Academic Freedom to Pursue “Fruitful Avenues” of Biblical Inquiry in Response to A Professor’s Atheist Critique of the Bible in Class Material:

  • Supervising students away from responding to Biblical research presented in class.

Academic Assessments Based on a Student’s Known, or Suspected, Christian Beliefs

A Professor’s Academic Freedom to Assess Christian Students in Academic Assessments on the Basis of the Student’s Religious Beliefs as:

  • having an “agenda of resistance”
  • having “religiosity” and “religious scruples” (as appealed) delineated from religious freedom
  • being academically “impaired” by their religious beliefs

An Individual Professor’s Authority to Decide if a Christian Student’s Sincerity of Christian Belief is Sufficient to Qualify Them For a Sunday Class Abstention:

  • university oversight of professors judging the sincerity of “practicing Christians’ “religious beliefs
  • whether the student can legitimately abstain from a Sunday class
  • are a regular church attendee
  • proof of religious beliefs

Ad Hoc scheduling of classes on Sunday by individual professors Contrary to the University Calendar and the Published Syllabus on which Students Enrolled

  • scheduling a class(es) on Sunday after a course has begun precluding students from withdrawing without penalty.

The obligation of universities to require fulfilment or a remedy for a professors’ failure or refusal to fulfill a Written Sunday Class Accommodation Agreement Made With a Student University Senate Appeals Committees and “Officious BystanderFaculty “Attacking” Students at a Grade Appeal:

University Senate identified as quasi-judicial after the fact thereby allowing for “officious bystander” faculty at a student’s grade appeal:

  • to “attack” the student in letters to the Senate Committee in response to the student’s “Holy Day Observance without Penalty” grade appeal, without providing for:
  • a confidentiality policy to protect the student
  • a remedy for the student


LEAVE TO APPEAL that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to The University Act to:

  • guarantee equal academic freedom and free speech rights to students of faith; and,

  • eliminate ad hoc university discretion and interferences with student religious expression and practice by allowing university bureaucracy to pick and choose from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

[Cynthia Maughan] ARGUMENT

Argument: Leave to Appeal Argument

The lower courts erred:

  • by not considering the key evidence of the Plaintiff’s sworn testimony and evidence that she is a “practicing Christian” and the admission by the defendants that she is a “practicing Christian” both in the Admissions of Truth and in their Statement of Defence.
  • by not considering that key evidence the lower courts erred by concluding the Plaintiff-student was a Christian with only “religious scruples” and “religiosity” thereby finding finding in favour of the respondent university and faculty.

  • in not finding against the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ conclusion permitting faculty to assess the sincerity of the plaintiff-students’ religious beliefs

  • excluding from consideration the professor-student power imbalance.

failing to find for the plaintiff-students’ religious freedom to:

  • absent herself from the Sunday Classes without penalty; and,
  • pursue fruitful avenues of religious inquiry and expression

PDF Argument – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada   HTML Argument – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada PART III


KEY FACTS: The “practicing Christian” [Cynthia Maughan] Plaintiff student:

  • was academically assessed by faculty in the written academic assessment based on faculty’s suspicions of her religious motivations which faculty identified as her “agenda of resistance”

  • abstained from a Sunday Class following university procedure that permits students to abstain without penalty, but the Plaintiff-Student was not accommodated with a review of her draft by the professor as were the other students thereby breaking the written accommodation agreement

  • was criticized in writing by faculty for writing a linguistically researched paper that proved Derrida misquoted the Bible in his disparagement of the Holy Communion in assigned reading

  • made numerous efforts over a prolonged period of time to all levels of the university to amicably resolve the matter by simply having the accommodation agreement fulfilled

  • was “attacked” in a manner that “descended well beneath Charter values” according to the Senate Appeals Committee in written letters by colleagues of the faculty member who were effectively unknown to the plaintiff-student and/or had brief or no knowledge of the matter before the Senate Committee.

  • was refused her request to disallow the above “Senate letters” attacking her prior to the Senate hearing despite the Senate not having a confidentiality policy to protect her, and no remedy for the harm done to her.

  • was denied consideration of the fiduciary duty to protect fee paying students

  • denied consideration of the the teacher-student power imbalance

PDF Facts – Appeal to be Head at the Supreme Court of Canada Part I  HTML Facts – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada Part I


Key QUESTIONS Asked to be Resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada:

  • are University Acts above Charter scrutiny and interpretation?

  • do faculties’ academic freedom rights trump a student’s right to religious freedom so that faculty may assess a student based on faculty’s knowledge or speculation about the student’s religious motivations or beliefs?

  • do universities and lower courts have the right to judge an individuals religious beliefs as merely, or derogatorily, “religious scruples” or “religious conduct” but which does not meet the measure of religious freedom protection?

  • does a trial judge have the discretion to exclude key Admissions of Truth

 PDF Questions Asked – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada Part II HTML Questions – Appeal to be Heard at the Supreme Court of Canada.Parts I-III Above Scanned Originals

REPLIES to Respondent University and Faculty

[Cynthia Maughan] REPLY to the University and Faculty’s SCC submissions

  • The Appellant-Student is on the Dean’s List and in Top 15% of UBC Students

  • Specific References to Distinctions Between “Religion” v  “Religiousity”

  • “Religious Scruples” Made in Lower Courts Outlined (Scanned) 

Reply to UBC and Faculty Responses (Scanned)


MOTION to Adduce New Evidence: Pattern of Faculty Association Contriving Complaints  to Garner Faculty and Legal Resources Against Practising Christians

[Cynthia Maughan] REPLY to Faculty Respondent

(Scanned) Motion to Adduce New Evidence (Scanned)

Evidence Christian Student Has Always Welcomed Free and Open Academic Debate Against Christianity

(Scanned) Reply to Motion to Adduce New Evidence (Scanned)


 SCC Decision in Maughan v UBC et al

Cynthia L Maughan v University of British Columbia et al: Appellant (Maughan’s) Leave to Appeal

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