TORONTO, ON — To protect the public and the integrity of its licensing process, the Law Society has undertaken the decision to cancel the upcoming barrister and solicitor examinations, scheduled to be written from March 8 to 11, and March 22 to 25, respectively. This decision has been made as a result of information the Law Society has received which strongly indicates that examination content has been improperly accessed by some candidates, compromising the integrity of the upcoming examination period. Evidence indicates the potential involvement of third parties in this activity.
This decision affects approximately 1100 candidates who were set to write online examinations, beginning Tuesday.
“We appreciate that this decision is upsetting news to those candidates not involved in improper conduct,” said Diana Miles, Chief Executive Officer. “However, this is a critical and necessary step to protect the integrity of the licensing process and the reputation of those candidates not involved. Most importantly, as the regulator of the legal professions it is incumbent upon us to take immediate action to protect the public interest.”
Examinations will be rescheduled as soon as possible, once additional measures have been implemented to further strengthen the delivery of licensing examinations; affected candidates will receive additional information through their online accounts.
The Law Society is proceeding immediately with a comprehensive investigation of the matter by a team of external investigators. This in-depth investigation includes review of candidates who have previously written examinations and may have received and relied on improperly obtained licensing examination content to assist their examination attempt.
Recently, affected licensing candidates who would originally have been eligible for licensure were notified that the Law Society is conducting an assessment of their examinations and that their eligibility to be called to the bar is being held in abeyance pending that assessment.
In addition, affected candidates who would originally have been eligible to attempt a licensing examination at the next available opportunity have been notified that the Law Society is assessing their prior licensing examination, and that their eligibility to attempt another is in abeyance pending that assessment.
At this point in time, no conclusions should be drawn from any delay in a candidate’s licensure. Candidates who may have information material to the investigation are urged to contact Licensing and Accreditation through their online accounts or by contacting Lprocess@LSO.ca.
The Law Society has processes in place, including licensing candidate requirements, to protect the integrity of its licensing examinations and continues to work closely with its third-party providers and other experts to implement additional measures to further strengthen the delivery of its online licensing examinations.
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.
Next steps will be informed by the results of the investigation.
To protect the integrity of the investigation, further details cannot be provided at this time.
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.