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Unclaimed client balances

Promise Dreams have recently started working with solicitors to make use of unclaimed client balances. In 2008 the Solicitors Regulatory Authority relaxed the rules on payment of unclaimed client balances of up to £500 to charity. Law Firms must return balances on client accounts promptly, as soon as there is no reason to retain the funds. However, where the rightful owner cannot be traced, rule 22(2A) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules permits balances up to £500 to be paid to charity without SRA permission providing that certain safeguards are met; this includes taking and recording adequate steps to identify and return the funds to the rightful owner. Amounts over £500 can also be paid to charity provided SRA permission is granted.

 

Unclaimed client account balances cannot be used for any purpose and are a burden to financial managers who have to account for these balances to auditors annually – donating them to charity makes sense and Promise Dreams would be very grateful for even the smallest amounts.

 

  • Donating Balances of under £500.

The Rules were amended in October 2014 allowing balances of £500 or less to be released to charity without SRA approval. If you have balances you wish to donate to Promise Dreams we can provide you with security and peace of mind by providing an indemnity for each individual case irrespective of amount enabling you to donate with security and peace of mind that if a client was to be located that the funds would be returned as stated in the indemnity letter. Upon receipt of funds you will receive a receipt and we will post you a signed individual indemnity letter for your records.

 

  • Donating amounts over £500

Amounts over £500 can also be paid to Promise Dreams provided the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) grants permission. To obtain permission please contact the Professional Ethics Guidance Team at the SRA, the process is very straightforward and they will be more than happy to help. You can find their details below:

Contact

Professional Ethics Guidance Team

Professional Ethics

The Cube

199 Wharfside Street

Birmingham

B1 1RN

DX 720293 Birmingham 47

Tel: 0370 606 2577

Email: professional.ethics@sra.org.uk

Guidance and the relevant application form may be found on the SRA website.

 

For more information on donating unclaimed client balances please contact our Corporate Relationship Manager Dan on 01902 212459 or daniel.smith@promisedreams.co.uk.

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