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Handling Cash

Cash transactions are different than other transactions because of the vulnerabilities inherent in cash itself – it is easily stolen and converted into other goods. Incidents of money laundering are on the rise and lawyers are likely targets.

Aside from general record-keeping considerations found in the Law Society Rules, transactions involving cash have additional requirements. Books of original entry showing the method by which money or property is received are required for cash transactions. One book is required for money or property received in trust and a separate book is required for all other money that is received.

Rule 15.03(2) provides that where a lawyer receives cash from a client, that lawyer is also required to keep a book of duplicate receipts. Each receipt must identify

  • the date the cash is received,
  • the person from whom the cash was received,
  • the amount of cash received,
  • the name of the client for whom it is received,
  • any file number in respect of which the cash is received,
  • the signature of the person authorized by the member who received the cash, and
  • the signature of the person from whom it is received.

These records must be kept current at all times (rule 15.03(4)) and must be kept for at least 6 years (rule 15.03(5)).

A lawyer is prohibited from receiving or accepting cash in an aggregate amount greater than $7,500 in respect of any one client matter. For example, a lawyer cannot accept 2 cash payments of $5,000 for one client for the same matter. This rule only applies when a lawyer engages or gives instructions on behalf of a client to

  • receive or pay funds,
  • purchase or sell securities, real properties, business assets or entities, or
  • transfer funds by any means.

See rule 15.02 for more information and exceptions to this rule.


Record Keeping Requirements: rule 15.03 (Law Society Rules)

Cash Transactions: rule 15.02 (Law Society Rules)

Related Topics:

Maintenance of Records: rule 5.02 (Law Society Rules)

Deposits in Trust Accounts: rule 5.04 (Law Society Rules)

Withdrawing and Transferring Funds from Trust Accounts

Trust Cheques

Credit Card Transactions

Receiving Funds Electronically

Managing Money

Law Office Organization and Administration

(Posted: June 12, 2020)