Cash Limits, Exceptions, and Record Keeping
Although neither the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct nor the By-Laws stipulate that a lawyer must accept cash from clients or others, in some cases, if the lawyer chooses to do so, the amount of cash that a lawyer can receive is limited by By-Law 9 (the "By-Law") and additional record keeping requirements apply.
The By-Law provides that a lawyer shall not receive or accept from a person cash in an aggregate amount of $7,500 or more in Canadian dollars in respect of any one client file. The cash limit applies when a lawyer engages in, or gives instructions in respect of, a client file regarding the receipt or payment of funds, purchase or sale of securities, real properties, or business assets or entities, or funds transfers by any means. A lawyer is prohibited from accepting cash in an aggregate of $7,500 or more unless one of the exceptions set out in section 6 of the By-Law, which are discussed below, applies.
For the purpose of the By-Law, cash is defined in subsection 1(1) as current coin within the meaning of the Currency Act (Canada), notes intended for circulation in Canada issued by the Bank of Canada pursuant to the Bank of Canada Act, and current coin or bank notes of countries other than Canada. Bank drafts, money orders, and electronic or wire transfers of funds are not considered to be cash for the purposes of the By-Law. If a lawyer receives cash in a foreign currency, the lawyer will be deemed to have received it in an amount converted into Canadian funds in accordance with the formula set out in subsection 4(2) of the By-Law.
It is also important to note that the $7,500 limit applies to the client file and not the client. As a result, regardless of how many clients a lawyer represents in a matter, the lawyer is prohibited from accepting $7,500 or more from the clients in total in respect of that file.
There are, however, exceptions to the cash limit. The cash transaction is exempt from the limit under section 6 of the By-Law where the lawyer receives cash
- from a public body and certain entities as described in the section;
- from a peace officer, law enforcement agency, or other agent of the Crown, acting in an official capacity;
- pursuant to an order of the tribunal;
- to pay a fine or penalty; or
- for fees, disbursements, expenses, or bail, provided that any refunds out of such receipts are also made in cash.
A lawyer who chooses to accept cash must maintain a book of duplicate receipts where each receipt identifies the date on which the cash is received; the person from whom the cash is received; the amount of cash received; the client for whom the cash is received; and any file number in respect of which the cash is received. Pursuant to section 19 of the By-Law, the receipt must also contain the signature of the lawyer or person authorized by him or her to receive cash and the signature of the person from whom the cash is received. Finally, under subsections 18(1) and (5) of the By-Law, the lawyer must record the method of receipt of funds (i.e. that it was provided in cash) in either the trust receipts or general receipts journal, depending on the account into which the cash was deposited. For more information on record keeping obligations relating to cash transactions, consult By-Law 9 and the additional resources below.
Archived Contingency Planning Webcast Now Available. The archived Contingency Planning webcast held on October 28 2013 is now online and accessible at no charge. This program contains 1.5 Professionalism Hours. The Contingency Planning Guide for Lawyersprovides several practical resources that have been prepared to encourage and assist practitioners who are in private practice to make plans in the event of death, disability and unexpected absences from practice.
New Rules of Professional Conduct Convocation approved amendments to the lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct to implement the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Model Code of Professional Conduct. The new rules come into effect October 1, 2014. Most amendments are minor, however some changes are more substantive and introduce new standards. The Law Society is developing new and updating existing resources to assist lawyers and will offer CPD programs on the amended rules.
Lawyers must report their CPD Hours using the online LSUC Portal by December 31 of each calendar year. IMPORTANT The CPD section of the Portal will be unavailable between January 1 and January 19, 2014 in order to simplify the process for reporting CPD Hours. Upcoming changes to the CPD section of the Portal include
- a single free-form entry screen for all programs and activities;
- professionalism programs will no longer be listed;
- fewer steps to report your Hours; and
- improved navigation.
Call for input: Revitalizing the AGM The Law Society is issuing a call for input from lawyers and paralegals on some options under consideration for revitalizing the Law Society's Annual General Meeting. The deadline for submissions is December 16, 2013.
November 21 - Convocation
December 6 - Special Convocation (if required)
December 31 - Failure to renew the Certificate of Authorization for Professional Corporations by this date will result in expiry of Certificate.
December 31 - Final date for lawyers subject to the CPD Requirement to complete all 12 CPD Hours and record them on the LSUC Portal. Failure to complete and record CPD Hours will result in referral for suspension.
For more information, visit the Manage Your Practice section under For Lawyers or phone 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380 ext 3315.
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