Version 8 of the Handbook was published on 1 October 2013. For more information, please click "History" above.
The Principles set out in the Handbook apply to all aspects of practice, including the handling of client money. Those which are particularly relevant to these rules are that you must:
- protect client money and assets;
- act with integrity;
- behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
- comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner; and
- run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles.
The desired outcomes which apply to these rules are that:
- client money is safe;
- clients and the public have confidence that client money held by firms will be safe;
- firms are managed in such a way, and with appropriate systems and procedures in place, so as to safeguard client money;
- client accounts are used for appropriate purposes only; and
- the SRA is aware of issues in a firm relevant to the protection of client money.
Underlying principles which are specific to the accounts rules are set out in rule 1 below.
These rules apply to all those who carry on or work in a firm and to the firm itself (see rules 4 and 5). In relation to a multi-disciplinary practice, the rules apply only in respect of those activities for which the practice is regulated by the SRA, and are concerned only with money handled by the practice which relates to those regulated activities.