SRA Accounts Rules


Introduction

These rules set out our requirements for when firms (including sole practices) authorised by us receive or deal with money belonging to clients, including trust money or money held on behalf of third parties. The rules apply to all firms we regulate, including all those who manage or work within such firms.

Firms will need to have systems and controls in place to ensure compliance with these rules and the nature of those systems must be appropriate to the nature and volumes of client transactions dealt with and the amount of client money held or received.

This introduction does not form part of the SRA Accounts Rules.

Part 1: General

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Part 2: Client money and client accounts

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Part 3: Dealing with other money belonging to clients or third parties

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Part 4: Accountants' reports and storage and retention of accounting records

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Supplemental notes

Made by the SRA Board on 30 May 2018.

Made under sections 32, 33A, 34, 37 of the Solicitors Act 1974, section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985, and section 83(5)(h) of, and paragraph 20 of Schedule 11 to, the Legal Services Act 2007.

SRA Accounts Rules

You are reading current version in effect from 25 November 2019
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You are reading current version in effect from 25 November 2019

Guidance

Guidance

Improper use of client account as a banking facility - Case study

We would expect law firms to understand (and document where necessary) all relevant risk factors involved in a transaction such as, among other matters, conflicts of interest or acting by implication for any unrepresented parties.

Improper use of client account as a banking facility

This guidance is relevant to all practitioners who have any involvement in holding or using money received for clients or others.

Risk factors in personal injury claims

This Warning Notice is relevant to solicitors and all regulated persons who take personal injury referrals from third parties, work closely with them or act on their instructions.

Granting authority to withdraw residual client balances

This guidance explains how we make decisions to grant authorisation to a firm to withdraw amounts over £500 from client accounts.

Planning for and completing an accountant's report

This guidance is intended to assist reporting accountants in completing their report.

Accountant's report and the exemption to obtain one

Guidance is to help firms understand when the exemption to the requirement to obtain an accountant's report will apply.

Do I need to operate a client account?

Questions and answers are for SRA-authorised firms that receive and hold client money in the form of fees and disbursements and want to rely on the exemption not to operate a client account.

Helping you keep accurate client accounting records

This guidance helps you to understand ways in which you might comply with these obligations, as well as providing wider best practice advice.

Joint accounts and record keeping

This guidance will help you think about the types of joint accounts that you may operate and the records which you need to keep in order to comply with the SRA Accounts Rules.

Statement of our position regarding firms operating a client’s own account

A firm’s ability to comply with rule 10 of the new SRA Accounts Rules.

Third party managed accounts

This guidance is relevant to SRA-authorised firms that are considering using a third-party managed account as an alternative to the use of a client account.

Notify us about a qualified accountant's report

Download and complete the Accountant's Report (AR1) form.

Bogus law firms and identity theft

There are serious and continuing risks to the public arising from the activities of criminals and criminal gangs who are setting up bogus law firms or bogus branch offices of genuine law firms with the intention, usually, of stealing mortgage loans.

Withdrawal of residual client balances

Use this form to apply for an authority to withdraw funds from client account for balances of £500 and over.

The prescribed circumstances in which you can withdraw client money from client account to pay to a charity of your choice

A residual client account balance is money that you have not returned to your client at the end of a retainer and it is now difficult for you to do so as you cannot identify or trace the client.