Trust accounts

A lawyer's privilege of holding a client's money or valuable property in trust requires strict compliance with the Legal Profession Act, the Society's Regulations and the Code of Professional Conduct.

All practising lawyers are required to report on their involvement with trust accounts on an annual basis. This reporting takes the form of either a Declaration in the Matter of Trust Funds or the longer Trust Account Report (working copy, .pdf).

It is a privilege and significant responsibility for lawyers to be permitted to hold client funds and property, and lawyers are held strictly accountable by the Society for properly dealing with all client funds and property held in trust, as part of its mandate to protect the public. The Society operates a primarily risk-based Trust Account Audit Program, providing for audits of the trust accounts of selected lawyers and law firms to be conducted by an accountant retained by the Society throughout the year. Those audited receive copies of the audit reports and the Society follows up with lawyers respecting all audit recommendations. The information respecting trends and concerns gleaned annually from the audits also informs education and other resources provided to lawyers and firms.

To assist members in the management of their trust accounts and, upon sufficient demand, the Society will make a Chambers Application to turn over undistributable trust funds to the Public Trustee of Nova Scotia. Information on this process and a copy of a Solicitor's Affidavit can be found in the Application for Disposal of Undistributed Trust Funds (Procedure and Sample Documents).

Trust Account Regulations (Part 10 of Regulations under the LPA)