The Trust Assurance Program is designed to ensure lawyers handle trust funds appropriately.
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.
BC lawyers often handle trust funds on behalf of other people. This is an important responsibility and fundamental to the conduct and completion of all types of business and personal legal transactions and in settling of disputes.
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.
All law firms are subject to Law Society compliance audits to ensure their books, records and accounts comply with the requirements of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia.
The Law Society Rules require a lawyer who discovers a trust shortage to immediately pay enough funds into the account to eliminate the shortage.
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.
Lawyers are required to account to a client for any money held in trust for the client's benefit. Sometimes a lawyer is unable to locate a client, so trust money remains unclaimed.