Lawyers’ trust accounts will be subject to the audit program pursuant to Rule V at least once every two years but may be audited more frequently and randomly if necessary.
Pursuant to section 70.1 of the Law Society Act, 1999, SNL 1999, c. L-9.1, members who have held money in trust on behalf of a person whom the member has been unable to locate for 2 years or more, must pay those monies to the Society.
Individual amounts can be provided separately or as a lump sum, by cheque made payable to the ‘Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador in Trust’. Members must also provide particulars respecting the monies attributable to each client. The information required includes the name of the client, the name of the lawyer retained, the amount of funds held in trust, the date of the last trust activity and an explanation of the efforts taken to locate the clients to return the funds. To comply with section 70.1, members only need to send a letter to the Law Society with the relevant information requested for each client, and the cheque(s). For further information, members are encouraged to review the procedure for the disposal of unclaimed trust funds.
The Law Society is required to hold these funds for 10 years, after which the funds are paid to the Law Foundation. If at anytime during that 10 year period a client comes forward and makes a claim to funds being held by the Law Society, the client is required to complete a Claim to Trust Money form.
For more guidance and information on trust accounts, see the practice resources found under Managing Money.