Trust Assurance Program
All lawyers who handle trust funds for clients or third parties are subject to rigorous trust assurance standards set out in the Law Society Rules.
The Trust Assurance Program is designed to ensure lawyers handle trust funds appropriately.
There are three aspects to the program:
Law firms are required to submit an annual trust report to the Law Society. Some are also asked to file an additional accountant’s report if a further review is necessary.
Law Society compliance auditors conduct on-site audits of all law firms at least once every six years. The goal of the audits is to:
- help law firms correct minor problems with record-keeping before they lead to serious issues of non-compliance and possible professional conduct issues
- do an in-depth review of client files - to ensure trust funds are being handled properly
- answer any questions lawyers may have about trust accounting
- help lawyers develop proper accounting systems, record-keeping practices and trust fund handling procedures
Trust Administration Fee
BC lawyers must remit to the Law Society a fee for each file that involves trust funds. The fee revenue is used to fund the Trust Assurance Program and Trust Protection Coverage for Theft (Part B) insurance which provides compensation to clients who suffer loss through a lawyer’s misappropriation of trust funds.
For further reference
Rule changes enhance trust security, September-October 2006 Benchers' Bulletin
A new trust assurance program — more effective, and less costly for firms, January-February 2006 Benchers' Bulletin
The Law Society’s trust assurance team is available to answer any questions you and your staff may have about trust accounting and to assist you — particularly those in smaller firms or setting up new firms — to develop proper accounting systems.