Ontario Bar Exam Cancelled After Questions Leaked

Some bad news from our neighbors to the north: the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has just cancelled upcoming bar exams after examination content was allegedly “improperly accessed” by some candidates.

More than 1,000 candidates were set to write the online examinations, which were scheduled from March 8 to 11 and March 22 to 25.

“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,” the LSO said.

The breach also affects candidates who had already written the exam. The LSO noted that some candidates who passed the exam and were eligible to be called to the bar are now under review.

The LSO also said that “evidence indicates the potential involvement of third parties in this activity.” External investigators are conducting a review.

Diana Miles, Chief Executive Officer of the LSO, said in the statement that the cancellation of the exams is necessary to “protect the public interest.”

“This is a critical and necessary step to protect the integrity of the licensing process and the reputation of those candidates not involved,” she said.

The LSO said exams 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.”

Dominique Habbouche, a law student based in Ottawa, was scheduled to write the bar exam later this month. She says the cancellation is upsetting and “complicates things.” If Habbouche passed her March examination, she would have been eligible to be called to the bar in June. Now, her plans are up in the air.

“Most of my other articling friends are panicking as well just because we don’t necessarily know what it looks like for us, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Is it going to be rescheduled? How long are we going to be waiting?”

Licensing exams are scheduled three times a year. To be eligible for licensing, candidates must pass both the barrister and solicitor exams. Licensing exams are open book and each comprises 160 multiple-choice questions.

The LSO has yet to provide an update on when examinations will be rescheduled and declined to respond to additional questions from the Star, “to protect the integrity of the process.”

In addition to the stress of having to wait to take the exam, there are also wider ramifications for law firms who employ law students, as the firms where they work now need to make human resource decisions about whether to continue to employ them while waiting for the next exam date.

You can read more about this story here.

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