The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.

SRA Handbook

Production of documents, information and explanations

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Version 6 of the Handbook was published on 01/01/2013. For more information, please click 'History' Above

Rule 51: Production of documents, information and explanations


You must promptly comply with:


a written notice from the SRA that you must produce for inspection by the appointee of the SRA all documents held by you or held under your control and all information and explanations requested:


in connection with your practice; or


in connection with any trust of which you are, or formerly were, a trustee;

for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person subject to Part 7 of these rules is complying with or has complied with any provision of this Part of these rules, or on whether the account has been used for or in connection with a breach of any of the Principles or other SRA Handbook requirements made or issued by the SRA; and


a notice given by the SRA in accordance with section 44B or 44BA of the LSA or section 93 of the LSA for the provision of documents, information or explanations.


You must provide any necessary permissions for information to be given so as to enable the appointee of the SRA to:


prepare a report on the documents produced under rule 51.1 above; and


seek verification from clients, staff and the banks, building societies or other financial institutions used by you.


You must comply with all requests from the SRA or its appointee as to:


the form in which you produce any documents you hold electronically; and


photocopies of any documents to take away.


A notice under this rule is deemed to be duly served:


on the date on which it is delivered to or left at your address;


on the date on which it is sent electronically to your e-mail or fax address; or


48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays) after it has been sent by post or document exchange to your last notified practising address.

Guidance notes


If your firm has offices in and outside England and Wales, a single accountant's report may be submitted covering your practice from offices both in, and outside, England and Wales - such a report must cover compliance both with Parts 1 to 6 of these rules, and with Part 7 of these rules.


The accounting requirements and the obligation to deliver an accountant's report in this part of the rules are designed to apply to you in relation to money held or received by your firm unless it is primarily the practice of lawyers of other jurisdictions. The fact that they do not apply in certain cases is not intended to allow a lower standard of care in the handling of client money - simply to prevent the "domestic provisions" applying "by the back door" in a disproportionate or inappropriate way.


In deciding whether interest ought, in fairness, to be paid to a client, the fact that the interest is or would be negligible, or it is customary in that jurisdiction to deal with interest in a different way, may mean that interest is not payable under rule 49.2.