To run a lawyer’s trust account, you must be in practice on your own account as a barrister and solicitor, and meet the criteria around the training requirements.
The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Trust Account) Regulations 2008 (the ‘Regulations’) cover:
The Trust Account Supervisor (TAS) course requirements are included as schedules to the regulations. The course is administered by NZLS CLE Ltd. Please refer to www.lawyerseducation.co.nz for further information regarding the course. NZLS CLE Ltd also runs a Trust Account Administrator course.
If you have previously completed the TAS course, you may wish to refer to Regulation 19(3) Lawyers and Conveyancers (Trust Account) regulations 2008 to assess whether you are eligible to complete only a ‘refresher’ course. For further information about refresher requirements please email email@example.com
The Lawyers Trust Account Guidelines are intended to assist lawyers with providing a system for handling client money and valuable property, and for administering trust accounts in law practices. They include all requirements introduced by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (‘LCA’) and the LCA (Trust Account) Regulations 2008 (Regulations).
The framework covers all lawyers who provide regulated services except those who, on their own behalf or as directors or shareholders of an incorporated firm, do not:
The objectives of the framework are:
All lawyers practising on own account and operating a trust account will be visited by a member of the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate uses a risk-based framework to determine the frequency of visits.
The cost of an Inspectorate visit is funded by an annual Inspectorate fee. However, if further visits are required and/or other remedial work needs to be undertaken, then the cost of these visits may be charged to the practice.
The Inspectorate also supports the work of the Lawyers Complaints Service, undertaking investigations on an as required basis.
In carrying out inspections (also known as reviews), the primary focus is on the trust accounting procedures and controls of firms. Inspectors may also check general compliance with the regulations and any rules, such as the LCA (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.
Barristers cannot receive or hold money or other valuable property for or on behalf of another person as they are not permitted to operate a trust account. Accordingly, barristers cannot hold fees in advance as these are deemed to be trust funds until such time as an invoice is issued for work and services undertaken.
Fees paid in advance must either be: