Last Updated July 2017
- Confidentiality and Security of Examination Materials
- Format and Timing of the Examination Sitting
- Registration and Security Screening at the Examination Site
- Personal Belongings
- Conduct during the Examination Sitting
- Breach of the Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol
- Accessibility and Accommodation
The Law Society of Ontario (the “Law Society”) has established these Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol (the “Rules and Protocol”) pursuant to Part XII of the Law Society’s
Lawyer Licensing Process Policies and Part VIII of the Law Society’s
Paralegal Licensing Process Policies. All candidates registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process or the Paralegal Licensing Process must comply with these Rules and Protocol, which apply equally (with any necessary modifications) to candidates in either Licensing Process.
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“Examination Content” means all information related to the content, format, process, completion and/or evaluation of a Licensing Examination contained within the Examination Materials.
“Examination Materials” means all materials provided by the Law Society for the purposes of administering a Licensing Examination, which may include but are not limited to the Licensing Examination booklet, examination items, answer sheet, and Feedback form, and all Examination Content contained therein.
“Examination Site” means the location of the testing facility for a Licensing Examination designated by the Law Society.
“Examination Sitting” means the writing of a particular Licensing Examination at a time, date and Examination Site(s) established by the Law Society.
“Law Society ID Card” means the photo identification card issued by the Law Society to a candidate registered in the Lawyer Licensing Process or Paralegal Licensing Process.
“Lead Proctor” means an individual designated by the Law Society to manage an Examination Site and the execution of an Examination Sitting, or to perform other duties as assigned by the Law Society.
“Licensing Examination(s)” means the Barrister, Solicitor and Paralegal Licensing Examinations administered by the Law Society, or any one of them.
“Proctor” means an individual designated by the Law Society to supervise an Examination Site and/or candidates or to perform other duties as assigned by the Law Society.
“Religious Attire” means head coverings, facial coverings or other clothing or accessories worn by a candidate in accordance with a candidate’s sincerely held religious beliefs, practice or observance.
“Testing Area” means a secure area within an Examination Site designated by the Law Society for an Examination Sitting.
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3. Confidentiality and Security of Examination Materials
The Law Society maintains strict confidentiality and security of the Examination Materials.
Stringent protocols and security measures have been put in place to ensure that the integrity of the Licensing Examinations and the Examination Materials is always maintained. These measures are designed to eliminate any unfair advantage among candidates and avoid the high cost of replacing the Examination Materials in the event of a security breach. These protocols have been implemented at all phases of development of the Examination Materials, including development, review, translation, printing, transportation and disposal of the Examination Materials.
All Examination Materials are the exclusive property of the Law Society and are protected by copyright.
In order to preserve the confidentiality and security of the Licensing Examinations, candidates are strictly prohibited at all times from disclosing to any person or organization, reproducing (through memorization or by any other means) or publishing any Examination Content (such as any items from a Licensing Examination or any multiple-choice answers to them) or any of the Examination Materials.
A candidate who opens the sealed Examination Materials package is deemed to have attempted his or her Licensing Examination. The candidate’s answer sheet will be marked and an official result given, whether or not the candidate completes the Licensing Examination.
Candidates must bring all print study materials, notes and textbooks into the Testing Area prior to the start of Part 1 of the Examination Sitting. Candidates are not permitted to bring any additional materials into the Testing Area after the Licensing Examination has begun (including for Part 2 of the Examination Sitting). Please refer to the list of Permitted Items in Section 6 below for further details.
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4. Format and Timing of the Examination Sitting
A. Examination Format:
Licensing Examinations may be written in either French or English at any Examination Site. At each Examination Site, announcements will be made in both languages unless, as of ten business days prior to the Examination Sitting, there are no candidates at that Examination Site who have registered to write the Licensing Examination in one of the languages or who have indicated that their language of correspondence is one of the languages.
The total length of each Licensing Examination is 7 hours (420 minutes). Each Examination Sitting is comprised of two parts, each of which is 3.5 hours (210 minutes) in length. Part 1 takes place during the morning, and Part 2 takes place during the afternoon. At the end of each Part an additional 5 minutes is allotted for completion of an Examination Feedback Form. A lunch break is provided between the two Parts of the Examination.
B. Admission to the Testing Area:
Candidates must be seated in their assigned seats within the Testing Area by no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of Part 1 of the Examination Sitting. Upon entering the Testing Area, candidates must proceed directly to their assigned seat. Candidates should confirm that they have arrived at their assigned seat by checking that the seat number identified on their desk matches the seat number listed on their registration wristband.
Candidates who fail to arrive at the Examination Site by the required time are permitted to enter the Testing Area for up to one hour after the start of Part 1 of the Examination Sitting. Such candidates will not be provided with any extra writing time.
Candidates who arrive at the Examination Site more than one hour after the start of Part 1 of the Examination Sitting will not be permitted entry to the Testing Area. Such candidates will be deemed to have failed to attend the Examination Sitting, and where such candidates fail to provide valid notification to the Law Society they will receive an official result of ‘Unexcused Absence’ for that Licensing Examination.
Candidates who arrive late for the start of Part 2 of the Examination Sitting will not be provided with any extra writing time.
C. Examination Timing:
Time is kept by a digital timer and a clock visible to all candidates. The Lead Proctor will start and stop the timer and instruct candidates when to start and stop writing the Licensing Examination.
Candidates are prohibited from writing any answers to items in the Examination Materials prior to an announcement to start writing the Licensing Examination. Candidates are also prohibited from writing, erasing or otherwise altering any answers to items in the Examination Materials after an announcement to stop writing the Licensing Examination.
No verbal time cues will be provided during the writing of the Examination. Candidates may make use of the projected digital timer and clock to track their progress through the examination questions. In addition, the Licensing Examination Day Schedule below is included on the Quick Reference - Licensing Examination Rules and Protocols sheet at each seat. The Schedule lists details of the events of the day, time for each and for when candidates are permitted to enter and exit the Testing Area, and to take restroom breaks.
D. Procedures for the Conclusion of either Part of the Examination Sitting:
When the Lead Proctor makes the announcement for all candidates to stop writing at the end of the allotted time for either part of the Examination Sitting, all candidates must immediately stop writing, put down pencils and erasers, and close their Licensing Examination booklet. At the conclusion of either part of the Examination Sitting, all candidates must remain seated until the Examination Materials have been collected. Candidates are not permitted to take restroom breaks during this time, because Proctors will be collecting materials and unavailable to assist candidates.
Candidates will be provided with a feedback form to report to the Law Society any perceived issues with the administration of the Examination Sitting or with the Examination Materials. When Proctors have collected the scantron answer sheets, 5 minutes will be provided for candidates to complete the Examination Feedback Form. Proctors will then collect the examination booklets and, at the conclusion of the examination sitting, the Examination Feedback Forms. Candidates are not permitted to remove their Feedback forms from the Testing Area. The Feedback form will be reviewed by the Law Society.
The Lead Proctor will provide instructions for dismissal from the Testing Area. Candidates should be aware that the dismissal process at the end of Part 1 and at the conclusion of the examination sitting involves a security screening and for large groups can take up to 20 minutes.
The Testing Area is secured and closed during the break between Part 1 and Part 2 of the Examination Sitting. Candidates are not permitted to remain in the Testing Area during that break.
When leaving the Testing Area after either part of the Examination Sitting, candidates may remove from the Testing Area their Permitted Items contained in their Storage Bag, their sweater, or other item of clothing, and any clear plastic beverage containers. All pieces of paper (including tissues, wrapping and receipts), except for candidates’ coat check tickets, will be removed from candidates’ Storage Bags upon exiting the Testing Area.
All other materials, including the Examination Materials and any print materials the candidate brings into the Testing Area, must remain in the Testing Area at the candidate’s desk, both during the break between Part 1 and Part 2 and at the conclusion of Part 2 of the Examination Sitting. After the Examination Sitting, all candidate print materials will be shredded.
E. Candidates who Finish Early:
A candidate who determines that he/she has completed either part of the Examination Sitting prior to the allotted time must raise his/her hand and remain seated until a Proctor has attended their desk. The Proctor will review the candidate’s Licensing Examination booklet and answer sheet, collect all Examination Materials, and provide the candidate with an Exit Pass. Candidates are not permitted to leave the Testing Area without an Exit Pass.
Candidates are not permitted to leave the Testing Area until one hour has elapsed after the start of a part of the Examination Sitting. Candidates who exit the Testing Area prior to the allotted time for either part of the Examination Sitting will not be permitted re-entry during that part. Candidates who determine that they have completed either part of the Examination Sitting during the final 15 minutes of the allotted time are not permitted to leave the Testing Area early, and must remain seated in the Testing Area until the announcement is made for all candidates to stop writing.
Candidates who exit the Testing Area prior to the allotted time must do so quietly, out of courtesy to those candidates still writing. Upon exiting the Testing Area after either part of the Examination Sitting, candidates may not gather with other candidates in any area adjacent to the Testing Area during the Examination Sitting.
F. Disruptions or Interruptions:
In the event of a disruption during the Examination Sitting (for example, a fire alarm), instructions will be projected on a screen at the front of the Testing Area room or provided orally. The Law Society may stop the timer to make any necessary announcements. Minor interruptions will not result in the timer being stopped.
Candidates must ensure they are available until 7:00 PM on the day of each Examination Sitting for which they are registered, in order to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances resulting from disruptions or emergencies that may necessitate the time specified for the Examination Sitting to be extended or altered.
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5. Registration and Security Screening at the Examination Site
Candidates who have registered for an Examination Sitting must arrive at the Examination Site by the time established by the Law Society. Candidates who fail to attend an Examination Sitting for which they have registered and fail to provide valid notification to the Law Society will receive an official result of ‘Unexcused Absence’ for that Licensing Examination.
Upon arrival at an Examination Site, candidates must first report to the Registration Desk to sign the registration sheet in the presence of a Proctor in order to be eligible to write the Licensing Examination. Candidates must present their Law Society ID Card at that time, for confirmation of their identity. Candidates without their Law Society ID Card will not be admitted into the Testing Area.
The Law Society ID Card follows protocols established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada with respect to photograph specifications. In particular, hats and head coverings must not be worn, unless they are worn daily for religious beliefs or medical reasons. In every case, a candidate’s full face must be clearly visible and any head covering must not cast any shadows on the candidate’s face. At the time of registration, a candidate may be asked to remove any Religious Attire, or part thereof, if necessary to establish the candidate’s identity. If this is required, the Law Society will take measures to respect the dignity of the candidate.
After a candidate has signed the registration sheet, a Proctor at the Registration Desk will issue the candidate a registration wristband, which indicates the candidate’s pre-assigned seat number. The Proctor will immediately secure the registration wristband to the candidate’s right wrist. The candidate must wear the registration wristband for the duration of the Examination Sitting. Candidates are not permitted to enter the Testing Area without their registration wristband.
Following registration, candidates must proceed to the designated security screening area and submit to an inspection of all personal items conducted by Proctors and Law Society staff. Candidates will be required to proceed through the security screening area a total of four times during each Examination Sitting: upon entry to and exit from the Testing Area for both Part 1 and Part 2.
Candidates are prohibited from falsifying or misrepresenting information required for admission to the Testing Area. Candidates are also prohibited from impersonating other candidates, and from allowing an impersonator, to write any part of a Licensing Examination on their behalf.
Friends, relatives or children who accompany a candidate to the Examination Site will not be permitted access to the registration area, security screening area or Testing Area. Friends, relatives or children may not wait in the Testing Area nor may they contact a candidate who is writing the Licensing Examination. Persons who wish to contact a candidate on an urgent basis should contact the Law Society, who will relay a message to a candidate.
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6. Personal Belongings
To ensure the security of the Testing Area, Prohibited Items (as defined below) will not be permitted inside the Testing Area. Outerwear items, including coats, ponchos, hats, other headgear, and gloves, must be stored with the complimentary coat check service provided by the venue.
The Law Society is not responsible for lost, stolen, broken or misplaced property and strongly recommends that candidates do not bring personal, valuable or non-examination items with them to the Examination Site.
A. Permitted Items:
Inside the Testing Area, the Law Society provides each candidate with the Examination Materials, two pencils, a highlighter, a calculator and an eraser with which to complete the Licensing Examination. Pencils must be used to fill in the answer sheet.
Candidates may only bring items designated as “Permitted Items” into the Testing Area. Except as stated in item (i) below, candidates may remove these Permitted Items from the Testing Area when exiting after both Part 1 and Part 2 of the Licensing Examination. The Law Society has designated the following items as Permitted Items:
- Print materials prepared for the purpose of assisting the candidate in the writing of the Licensing Examination (including any examination study materials, notes and textbooks), which may be bound or loose.
Commentary: These candidate print materials may be carried into the Testing Area in a disposable bag (such as a grocery bag), but not in any of the forms of luggage listed as Prohibited Items. Candidates may exit the Testing Area with their binder rings (but not their binders) at the completion of the Licensing Examination. All other print materials must be left in the Testing Area, and will not be returned to candidates under any circumstances.
- Non-alcoholic beverages in clear plastic containers.
Commentary: There is no limit on the number of beverage containers a candidate may bring into the Testing Area. Containers which have already been opened are permitted only if they are re-sealable. Candidates should be sure to bring sufficient beverages for the day.
- A single sweater, blazer, cardigan, or hooded sweatshirt ("hoodie"). When inside the Testing Area, candidates wearing a hoodie are prohibited from wearing its hood up over their head, and must keep the hood visible at all times. Scarves and wrap-style shawls may also be worn around the neck and shoulders in the testing area. When not being worn, items above must be stored beneath the candidate’s seat.
- The following items, provided they are secured within a single, re-sealable, clear, plastic storage bag (such as a Ziploc bag) that is no larger than 26.8cm X 27.3cm in size (“Storage Bag”):
- Law Society ID Card.
- Food in its original wrapping/container, or re-covered in a clear wrapping (e.g. Saran Wrap).
Commentary: Out of consideration for their colleagues, candidates are asked not to consume foods in the Testing Area that are noisy, distracting, or have a strong scent (e.g., uncut apples, raw carrots, unpeeled oranges and fish). Those kinds of foods can be consumed freely during the lunch break outside of the Testing Area, but should be left inside the candidate’s Storage Bag while inside the Testing Area.
- Plastic cutlery.
- Hygiene products.
Commentary: Some candidates are mildly to severely allergic to certain scents and odours. Candidates are asked to use any perfume, aftershave, cologne, hair spray, or lotions only in moderation, and are asked not to re-apply any of these scent- and odour-producing products at the Examination Site.
- Medication(s) in clear containers or packaging (but not in non-clear pillboxes, organizers or cases).
- Tissues (loose or in a clear wrapping).
Commentary: As with all paper, tissues may not be removed from the testing area once they have been brought in.
- Earplugs (not including any electronic earphones or earbuds).
B. Prohibited Items:
Items designated as “Prohibited Items” will not be permitted in the Testing Area. The Law Society has designated the following items as Prohibited Items:
- Mechanical or electronic media devices including, but not limited to, computers, USB keys, tablets, cellular telephones, smart phones, personal digital assistants, pagers, calculators, wireless email and reading devices, electronic paging devices, recording or filming devices, cameras, tape recorders, earphones, earbuds, headsets, mp3 players and radios.
- Watches, stopwatches or electronic bracelets of any kind.
- All forms of luggage, including but not limited to book bags, backpacks, handbags, tote bags, purses, suitcases and briefcases.
- Writing and marking supplies, including but not limited to pens, pencils, erasers and highlighters. Unused or extra post-it notes and notepaper are permitted but must be left behind in the Testing Area upon the completion of the Licensing Examination.
- Props, such as copyholders or clipboards.
- Food and beverages, except for those contained within the Storage Bag described in the list of Permitted Items above.
- Weapons of any kind, including but not limited to sharp objects, firearms, explosive devices, razor blades, non-plastic cutlery, box cutters and knives.
- Outerwear, including coats, jackets, ponchos, hats, toques, headgear and gloves, except for any Religious Attire.
Commentary: In compliance with the security screening procedures and protocols to ensure the integrity of the Licensing Examinations and Examination Materials, a candidate may be asked to remove the Religious Attire, or part thereof, if necessary to establish the candidate’s identity. If this is required, the Law Society will take measures to respect the dignity of the candidate.
Candidates who are discovered to have brought prohibited items into the Testing Area will have those items confiscated and the candidate’s Licensing Examination may receive an official result of “Fail”.
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7. Conduct during the Examination Sitting
All candidates must comply with the Law Society’s Licensing Process Policies. Pursuant to these Policies, candidates shall not engage in any form of dishonesty, fraud, cheating, misrepresentation or other misconduct related to the Licensing Examinations, including but not limited to:
- copying another person’s answer to an examination question during a Licensing Examination;
- consulting an unauthorized source during a Licensing Examination;
- bringing into the Testing Area any unauthorized materials, including but not limited to Prohibited Items;
- removing from the Testing Area any unauthorized materials;
- being in possession of or using unauthorized information or materials prior to or during a Licensing Examination; or
- assisting a person to carry out any of the above activities.
Further to these Policies, candidates are prohibited from obtaining or using any answers or information from, or providing any answers or information to, any other candidate. Candidates may not share any print materials with other candidates during the Examination Sitting, nor may they remove any materials from another candidate’s desk without permission of a Proctor.
Proctors and Law Society staff will monitor and observe all candidates during the Examination Sitting. Candidates must comply with all requests or instructions made by a Proctor or Law Society staff member during an Examination Sitting, including but not limited to a request to leave the Testing Area. Candidates are prohibited from being physically or verbally abusive towards any Proctor, Law Society staff member, or other candidate at any time during an Examination Sitting. Candidates may not create any continuing distraction by sound, movement or odour which could disrupt the concentration of other candidates in the Testing Area.
Inside the Testing Area, candidates must display their Law Society ID Card at the top right corner of their desk (or whichever corner is closest to the aisle) at all times during the Examination Sitting.
Candidates must keep their Storage Bag directly under their chair at all times during the writing of the Licensing Examination. Candidates may not access their Storage Bag during the writing of the Licensing Examination except under the direct supervision of a Proctor. Candidates who require an item from their Storage Bag during the writing of the Licensing Examination must raise their hand and a Proctor will assist them.
Candidates may not leave their seat during the Examination Sitting unless escorted by a Proctor. Candidates who require a restroom break should raise their hand and a Proctor will collect their Examination Materials and escort them to and from the restroom. Restroom breaks are not allowed during announcements which occur before and after each part of the Examination Sitting.
Candidates who remove any articles of clothing (such as a sweater, scarf, etc.) during the Examination Sitting must place the clothing directly under their chair.
A candidate who behaves inappropriately may be instructed to leave the Testing Area and their Licensing Examination may receive an official result of “Fail”.
In the event of a disruption or an emergency of any kind, when the Law Society has stopped the clock, candidates must immediately stop writing, put down pencils and erasers, and close their Licensing Examination booklet. Proctors will collect all examination materials and candidates should remain seated and wait for instructions from Law Society staff.
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8. Breach of the Licensing Examination Rules and Protocol
Any breach of these Rules and Protocol may result in any of the following:
- preparation of a written report on the conduct of the candidate and its provision to the Professional Regulation Department for investigation;
- discipline and removal from the Licensing Process pursuant to Part XII of the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies or Part X of the Paralegal Licensing Process Policies;
- initiation of legal proceedings by the Law Society against the candidate for damages;
- pursuit by the Law Society of any other legal remedies available to it.
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9. Accessibility and Accommodation
Notwithstanding any provision or requirement contained in these Rules and Protocol, a candidate who requires accommodation may request accommodation in accordance with Part XIX of the Lawyer Licensing Process Policies or Part XII of the Paralegal Licensing Process Policies, and the Law Society will provide accommodation to the candidate in accordance with the Policy and Procedures for Accommodations for Candidates in the Lawyer and Paralegal Licensing Processes. For further information regarding accessibility accommodation, please send an email to
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