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Can a solicitor bank personal money in the Client account?

I would be grateful if somebody could please help me with the following Client account query:

Client is a two partner solicitor practice. One of the partners runs a totally different business ( Something to do with art!). He received a cheque in USD as payment, related to his personal business. He wants to bank this in the Partnership USD Client a/c.

Is this allowed?



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By LyneT
07th Apr 2011 10:55

Why in client account?

Are you sure that he wants to bank it in client account and not office account?

The SAR prohibit the withdrawal of funds from client account for personal use but there is nothing to stop funds being banked in client account.  Client account does not belong to the solicitor but to the individual clients. 

The SAR prohibit client account being overdrawn.   Has he previously withdrawn funds from client account and wants to pay it back?  If he has previously done this he needs to be reported the SRA and an investigation will ensue.

Is he doing this as he thinks that the interest rate on client account is higher than he would get elsewhere?  Usually client account does not produce interest.  It is client call account which produces interest.

So basically, there is nothing to stop him putting it into client account, but it seems an odd thing to do.

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07th Apr 2011 10:55



Not allowed - please refer to Rule 15 (Solicitor Account Rules).



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By LyneT
07th Apr 2011 10:59

I stand corrected

Read the rule 15, and sorry, my previous anwer was incorrect.  Please ignore.

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07th Apr 2011 11:55

Almost right LyneT!!
The answer is NO.

Only client money may be deposited in Clients Account and Rule 13 Note xii states:-

"(xii) A solicitor cannot be his or her own client for the purpose of the rules, so that if a practice conducts a personal or office transaction - for instance, conveyancing - for a principal (or for a number of principals), money held or received on behalf of the principal(s) is office money. However, other circumstances may mean that the money is client money, for example:
(a) If the practice also acts for a lender, money held or received on behalf of the lender is client money.
(b) If the practice acts for a principal and, for example, his or her spouse jointly (assuming the spouse is not a partner in the practice), money received on their joint behalf is client money.
(c) If the practice acts for an assistant solicitor, consultant or non-solicitor employee, or (if it is a company) a director, or (if it is a limited liability partnership) a member, he or she is regarded as a client of the practice, and money received for him or her is client money - even if he or she conducts the matter personally."

But then, not many solicitors ever actually READ the SARs!

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By aadil
07th Apr 2011 12:15

Thanks to all of you for the helpful replies. This AW at its best.

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07th Apr 2011 14:22

Could have started with SAR maybe!




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07th Apr 2011 14:50

Yes Chris but...........
It was buried deep down in the notes and the SARs are rather impenetrable.
I just happened to know it was there but even so, it took me a while to find.

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By aadil
07th Apr 2011 15:08


Chris, Thanks

I do not deal with this on a day to day basis and  yes I could have started with SAR and spent lot of time looking for it, or ask those who have more experience of this and are willing to help (yes by kindly spending some of their valuable time drafting the answer, I do gratefully acknowledge).

Also when a question, no matter how basic is raised on here, I am sure there are many who benefit from the replies.


Thanks once again to everyone for their help.

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07th Apr 2011 18:02


How do they open the bank account then? Do they have to wait for a cheque needing banking?

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