Accused candidates can respond to investigators, should they choose to do so
The Law Society of Ontario has notified several candidates that they breached the LSO rules and regulations as part of its ongoing investigation into cheating on the November 2021 barrister and solicitor licensing examinations.
Candidates were informed based on information and evidence obtained through the investigative process and the results and recommendations of a forensic analysis of the November 2021 licensing examinations conducted by testing security experts.
Further investigation is underway into other individuals, and the LSO is notifying candidates who do not require further analysis based on the evidence.
Law Times previously reported that after the Law Society of Ontario discovered a potential leak of assessment questions, the regulator rescheduled the March and June exams and cancelled online assessments for the 2022-23 licensing cycle.
The LSO is also suing NCA Exam Guru and its principal, Aamer Chaudhry, for allegedly providing documents to clients that would allow them to cheat on licensing exams. Without authorization, the regulator alleges that the company 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 Law Society’s investigation into licensing examinations is firmly rooted in protecting the public interest and ensuring the integrity of the licensing process and the legal professions,” said Diana Miles, the LSO chief executive officer. “Public confidence and trust in the licensing process is paramount. As regulator, our actions are focused on upholding our public service mandate.”
Notified candidates can respond to investigators, should they choose to do so. The regulator says they may face a range of outcomes based on its mandate to protect the public interest, maintain the integrity of the licensing process and public confidence in the legal professions.
Outcomes under consideration include:
- Deeming the results of the November 2021 barrister and/or solicitor licensing examinations to be void:
- The candidate will receive a “Fail” result for the voided examination, which will count as an examination attempt.
- Deeming registration in the Law Society’s licensing process to be void:
- All previous examination attempts and the completion of any form of experiential training, such as articling, may be voided, and individuals with cancelled registration will no longer be candidates in the LSO’s licensing process.
- Licensing hearing:
- The candidate’s licensing application may be referred to the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal.
In assessing appropriate outcomes, the LSO says it will consider a candidate’s written submissions, evidence provided by the investigative team, the forensic analysis, and the individual’s sincerity and cooperation with the investigation into cheating.
The LSO says that it will share information about specific candidates under investigation with other Canadian law societies in keeping with its public interest obligations.
“Licensing examinations are an integral aspect of ensuring the entry-level-competence of lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. The Law Society is committed to ensuring that its licensing examinations are administered fairly, defensibly, in the public interest, and are free from improper behaviour, unlawful activity, and misconduct.”
The investigation into misconduct in the licensing examination process remains ongoing.