Unclaimed client funds
A request to solicitors...
As a registered Charity, we do not receive government funding and our continued operation depends on us finding ways to raise the £5.1m needed every year to keep this vital service active.
With this in mind, we would be extremely grateful if you were to consider donating your unclaimed funds to our Charity. Apart from the knowledge that you will be helping this lifesaving service, this is an ideal way of re-distributing those residual funds in your accounts that remain unclaimed year on year.
As the Law Society have reported:
‘Since October 2014 residual client balances of £500 or less can now be dealt with by firms without authorisation from the [Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority] SRA’. (Law Society website)
The SRA advise that according to it’s Solicitors Accounts Rules (SAR) the following steps must be taken before any re-distribution is considered:
- Make reasonable attempts to establish the identity of the money’s owner, including use of a genealogical research service;
- Make adequate attempts to ascertain the proper destination of the money and to return it to the rightful owner, unless the reasonable costs of doing so are likely to be excessive in relation to the amount held;
- Pay the funds to charity;
- Record the above steps taken and keep all relevant documentation (such as the attempted correspondence and receipts from the charity). This record must be kept for a minimum of six years; and
- Keep a central register in accordance with rule 29.22.
For amounts over £500, permission can be granted by applying to the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority. Please contact the Professional Ethics Guidance Team within the SRA for further details. We do provide the relevant indemnities for these donations.
For more information on donating your residual balances to the Great North Air Ambulance Service, please contact our offices on 01325-487263 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Law Society: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/residual-client-balances/
Solicitors Regulation Authority: http://www.sra.org.uk/guidance
Professional Ethics Guidance Team contact details:
Solicitors Regulation Authority
Professional Ethics, The Cube,
199 Wharfside St, Birmingham
Tel: 0370 606 2577 or