Phil Lord; Saturday, June 25, 2022; 3:00 PM-3:50 PM – online
This article seeks to demonstrate both the importance of expertise and scholarship in framing a religion’s claim of legitimacy in law, and how expertise can be harnessed by a religious group to gain this legitimacy. From a broad overview of the consequences of religious status in law, the article analyses the tests used to attribute the status, to show the crucial role that their application affords to experts and scholarship. It then argues that new religious movements, and Scientology, are ideal case studies to illustrate the importance of scholars and scholarship. Scientology is indeed the only major religion to have emerged in the twentieth century and is unique in that it has, over this period, gained, lost, re-gained, and grappled with ongoing challenges to its status in law. The article then illustrates these issues with an analysis of two key periods from Scientology’s history: its ultimately successful fight to gain tax-exempt status in the United States in the 1980s, and its response to modern-day challenges to this status. Both periods illustrate, in different ways, how Scientology has recognised the power of expertise and scholarship, and sought to harness it to frame its claim of legitimacy in law.
The article can be accessed at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3798780
Assistant Professor, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University
Phil Lord is an Assistant Professor at Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. He was appointed (at age 24) and remains the youngest law professor in Canada. Phil previously served as an instructor at Carleton University’s Department of Law and a law clerk at the Federal Court of Canada. Prior to that, he started a few companies, worked in the financial services industry, and practiced civil and commercial litigation in Montreal. Phil graduated from the McGill Faculty of Law with degrees in civil and common law, on the Dean’s Honor List and with the highest standing in property law and constitutional law. He subsequently pursued an LL.M. as a Bombardier scholar. Phil is called to the bar in New York, Massachusetts, and Quebec. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and holds three financial services designations. Phil has authored over twenty academic articles, most peer-reviewed. His research focuses on public law (principally employment and taxation law), behavioral economics, and new religious movements. Phil also writes on other things, such as Quebec’s Bill 21, children’s literature, and the porn industry. A free version of each of his articles can be accessed at https://ssrn.com/author=2790633
Phil has also failed at a lot of things. His first three grades in law school were B-s, and his final law school transcript lists two B-s and a C — the latter being a particularly unusual grade at McGill. Although the selection rate seems to hover around 75%, Phil wasn’t selected as an editor of the McGill Law Journal. With four manuscripts, he spent almost two years trying to get his first publication. It would be another year before he published in a law review. Phil welcomes discussions about his failures, as he thinks law professors too often lack humility. (He even wrote an article on that: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3726628.)
Over the past two years, Phil has given interviews to or briefed journalists from six media outlets. He welcomes media inquiries in his areas of expertise. French Bio: Phil Lord est professeur adjoint à la Faculté de droit Bora Laskin de l’Université Lakehead. Il était au moment de sa nomination (à l’âge de 24 ans) et demeure le plus jeune professeur de droit au Canada. Phil était précédemment chargé de cours à la Faculté de droit de l’Université Carleton et auxiliaire juridique à la Cour fédérale du Canada. Avant cela, il a fondé quelques entreprises, travaillé dans le secteur des services financiers et pratiqué en litige civil et commercial à Montréal. Phil a obtenu ses diplômes en droit civil et en common law de la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill. Il figure sur la liste d’honneur du doyen et a reçu des prix pour avoir obtenu les meilleurs résultats en droit des