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Deadline for historical client balances

12 June 2015 | tagged Current issues

The Law Society of Scotland practice rules which came into force on 1 November 2011 allowed two years for the clearing down of historical balances, up to 31 October 2013, however we are aware that there are many firms which still hold historical client balances.

We are now urging all firms to fully complete the work required to disburse all client balances held following conclusion of transactions by 31 October 2015.

From that date, any ongoing rule breaches relating to these balances will be reported to the Guarantee Fund Sub-Committee.

The Law Society’s Financial Compliance inspection team have been working with many firms and monitoring progress being made with the required work. They have determined that an additional two years from the date of the rule requirement is ample time for this to be completed.

Law Society of Scotland practice rules

B6.11 Failure to disburse client credit balances following conclusion of transactions

Under the terms of the Law Society Practice Rules 2011, Rule B6.11 requires every practice unit to disburse client credit balances promptly following conclusion of transactions.

In addition:

  •         Rule B6.4 requires a practice unit to remedy any breach of rule 6 promptly upon discovery.
  •       Rule B6.13 states that the cashroom manager is responsible for securing compliance by the practice unit with the obligations of rule 6.
  •         Rule B6.2.3(b) states that no regulated persons (solicitors) within the practice unit shall cause or knowingly permit the practice unit not to comply with any provision of rule 6, therefore it is possible that the Guarantee Fund Sub Committee will take the view that other solicitors within the practice unit are responsible, and action may also be taken against them.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Society's financial compliance team.

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