Update on Investigation Into Cheating on Lawyer Licensing Examinations

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Law Society of Ontario

Release Date

Thursday, July 14, 2022


The ongoing investigation into cheating on the November 2021 barrister and solicitor licensing examinations reached an important milestone this week.

Based on information and evidence obtained through the investigative process, and the results and recommendations of a forensic analysis of the November 2021 barrister and solicitor licensing examinations conducted by testing security experts, a number of candidates have been notified that evidence obtained to date strongly supports the conclusion that they breached the Law Society's rules and regulations regarding licensing examinations. Further investigation is ongoing in relation to other individuals. At the same time, candidates against whom the current evidence does not support a continuing investigation are being notified.

"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 Law Society's 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."

Candidates who have been notified are being provided with a further opportunity to respond to investigators, should they choose to do so. After which, they may face a range of outcomes based on the Law Society's mandate to protect the public interest, maintain 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 and it will count as an examination attempt.
  • Deeming registration in the Law Society's licensing process to be void:
    • All previous examination attempts along with the completion of any form of experiential training, such as articling, may be voided.
    • Individuals whose registration is voided will no longer be candidates in the Law Society's licensing process.
  • Licensing hearing:
    • The candidate's application for licensing may be referred to the Hearing Division of the Law Society Tribunal.

In assessing appropriate outcomes the Law Society will consider a candidate's written submissions, evidence provided by the investigative team, the forensic analysis, and the individual's candour and cooperation with the investigation into cheating.

The investigation into misconduct in the licensing examination process is ongoing; further updates will be provided as information is available. In-keeping with its public interest mandate, the Law Society continues to share information with other Canadian law societies about specific candidates under investigation.

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.

All candidates registered in the licensing process are reminded that they must comply with the Law Society's Rules and Protocol and are expected to review the Guide to Licensing Examinations.

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.

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