The company says the LSO allegations are false and will vigorously defend the claim in court
The Law Society of Ontario is suing NCA Exam Guru and its principal Aamer Chaudhry for allegedly providing documents to clients that would allow them to cheat on licensing exams.
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing investigation following the discovery of a potential leak of the online barrister and solicitor examinations. Law Times previously reported that to preserve the integrity of the exam, the LSO cancelled the March bar exam, postponed the June exams to July and stopped online assessments.
NCA Exam Guru offers preparation courses for licensing examinations. According to the LSO statement of claim, Chaudhry, who leads some of the lessons, is a former licensing candidate but not a licensed lawyer or paralegal.
The LSO alleges that the company, without authorization, obtained and provided to those enrolled in its preparation courses documents containing questions from the licensing examinations. The company also shared documents containing answers to questions.
The statement of claim states that the defendants were always aware that their conduct would harm the LSO. “Their conduct was high-handed, dishonest, oppressive, harsh vindictive, reprehensible, malicious and in disregard of the integrity of the LSO and the legal profession.”
The LSO seeks monetary damages for breach of confidence, conspiracy, inducing breach of contract and copyright infringement. It is also seeking a return of the examination content from the defendants and an injunction prohibiting its further use and distribution.
Furthermore, the LSO is asking for a full accounting and disgorgement of all profits earned directly or indirectly from the use and disclosure of the examination content and a $100,000 award in punitive and exemplary damages.
The statement of claim further alleges that several candidates used the “cheating documents” from the NCA Exam Guru for the 2021 November exams and believe the defendants engaged in similar conduct for other exams and will continue to investigate.
“The law society is committed to protecting the public interest and actively responding to conduct that threatens the integrity of the licensing process and the professions. As regulator, we will take strong action against alleged wrongdoers,” said Chief Executive Officer Diana Miles. “This action also serves as a reminder to candidates of their responsibilities and obligations around examination conduct, and the need to be on guard against any third parties who may be organizing activities to facilitate cheating on licensing examinations.”
Law Times previously reported that the LSO had withheld some licensing candidates’ calls to the bar pending the outcome of the investigation.
Nadar Hasan, Fredrick Schumann and Alexandra Heine of Stockwoods LLP represent the LSO.
Chaudhry and NCA Exam Guru deny the LSO’s allegations and have retained counsel at Brauti Thorning LLP to respond to the lawsuit.
In a released statement, Chaudhury said the LSO allegations are not proven and that the company will vigorously defend the claim in court.
The statement asserted that the defendants never obtained a copy of any questions identified as being on the November 2021 licensing examination or supplied answers to questions known to be on any of the actual licensing examinations.
“We would have no reason to do so and would not put our company, the success of our students or their future professional aspirations at risk by knowingly engaging in such conduct.”
The statement emphasized that during review sessions, the NCA Exam Guru, like many other bar review courses, displays and discusses sample questions obtained from various sources, including study guides attained by students from other sources.
“While these false and defamatory allegations have caused irreparable harm to our reputation, we will continue to do what we have always done: carefully and professionally prepare our students for success on the LSO licensing examinations,” says the NCA Exam Guru’s statement of defence.