of Client Property
time to time, clients entrust property to their lawyers for safekeeping. In
such cases, lawyers’ obligations to their clients are set out in section 3.5 of
of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”).
general terms, lawyers are required to care for client property as a careful
and prudent owner would and observe all relevant rules and law about the
preservation of the property provided to the lawyer (r. 3.5-2). The duties
outlined in this Rule are closely related to those regarding confidential
information. The lawyer should keep the client’s papers and other property out
of sight as well as out of reach of those not entitled to see or access them.
provide guidance to lawyers holding client property on the appropriate
procedures to follow (rr. 3.5-3 to 3.5-7). Specifically, unless satisfied that
the client is aware that the property is in the lawyer’s custody, a lawyer must
notify the client upon receipt of the client property. Once the lawyer has
either notified the client or determined that notification is not necessary,
the lawyer must clearly label and identify the client’s property and place it
in safekeeping distinguishable from the lawyer’s own property. A lawyer must
also maintain such records as are necessary to identify the property. Finally,
upon request, the lawyer must account promptly for the property and deliver it
to the client. Alternatively, the property should be delivered to the client at
the conclusion of the retainer. If the lawyer is unsure of the proper person to
receive a client’s property, the lawyer must apply to a tribunal of competent
jurisdiction for direction.
keeping obligations for client property vary dependent on the type of property
with which the lawyer has been entrusted. For example, under subsection
18(9) of By-Law 9, lawyers are required to maintain a valuable property
record to document trust assets other than money. Valuable property, for the
purpose of this record keeping requirement, includes mortgages, transfers, or
other instruments registered in the lawyer’s name in trust, stocks, bonds, or
other securities in bearer form, jewellery, or any other property that a lawyer
could convert on his or her own authority to cash.
property does not include term deposits, deposit receipts, savings
accounts, or similar deposits that are maintained for individual clients at
chartered banks or registered trust companies. These are trust monies and must
be recorded in the financial accounting records set out in By-Law 9. Likewise,
wills, securities registered in the name of the client, corporate records, and
corporate seals are not included in the valuable property record as they cannot
be sold or negotiated by a lawyer. A list of these properties may be
maintained, but this list must be separate from the valuable property record.
Bookkeeping Guide for Lawyers, available on the Law Society website,
provides further information on the details that must be contained in the
valuable property record, including an example, as well as guidance on the
preparation of other financial records for lawyers who are entrusted with
- Visit the Your Practice section of the Law Society Gazette for Rules Recap: quarterly updates of Law Society rule and by-law amendments.
- See the Practice Management Guidelines -practical tools to assist lawyers in assessing, maintaining and enhancing their quality of service.
- For assistance interpreting your obligations under the Rules, please contact
Management Helpline at 416-947-3315 or 1-800-668-7380, ext 3315.
Health Strategy approved
long-term mental health strategy, approved at April Convocation, builds on the
Law Society’s existing mental health initiatives and lays the groundwork to
explore additional supports or programs that fall within the organization’s
long-term plan and vision will address mental health and addiction issues
through both preventive and regulatory strategies. A key element is
consideration of the role that diversionary and confidential processes —
including capacity hearings held in the absence of the public — may play in
appropriate circumstances. The plan is the work of the Mental Health Strategy
Task force, which was initiated last June at the request of the Treasurer. Read
the full report.
Society Referral Service (LSRS)
month marks the fourth year of the Law Society enhancing the LSRS to ensure
greater access to legal services. In May 2012, LSRS expanded to include
paralegal subscribers, an online service, and trained Legal Information
Officers to help identify legal issues, offer referrals and provide additional
resources. We have further evolved to an exclusively online service, www.findlegalhelp.ca, providing referrals
24 hours a day, and added a crisis line, intended for people who are unable to
use the online service, such as those in custody, in a shelter or residing in a
remote community without access to the Internet.
our success by joining
LSRS and become part of an important public service that has proven its
value for more than 40 years. The potential benefits of joining LSRS include
building your business, expanding your profile and contributing to your
community. The cost to join the service is $282.50 per year (including
applicable taxes). Applicants who join now will have their fees pro-rated
monthly to the end of the calendar year.
Member Assistance Program is here for you and your family
lawyer, you are provided with a Member Assistance Program (MAP) — a
confidential service designed to help members maintain their mental health and
achieve their health and wellness goals. But do you know what the program
includes, who is eligible to receive support, or how to access services?
Individuals eligible for MAP services often don’t realize that, for example, if
they have a daughter who is suffering with depression, she can also seek
counselling; or that couples counselling is available for members and their
partners. MAP’s goal is to reach as many people as possible who, if they knew
they were eligible, would benefit from these confidential services. Learn
Annual Conference (Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario)
2016 AJEFO Conference offers an excellent opportunity to perfect legal
knowledge, to obtain updates on the major legal decisions of the year, and to
enable professional networking, all in French. This year, the conference will
be held in Niagara Falls on June 24-25. More
information and to register.
The LSUC Store
Law Society has launched an updated online platform called the LSUC
Store. Law Society merchandise,
certificates and letters
are available for purchase. You will be able to purchase CPD programs from the fall 2016 calendar
later this month. While
it functions much like the current CPD website, additional features make the
ordering process easier and more convenient, including manual discounts,
cancellations, group orders and access to store credit. Read the FAQs to learn more.
Law Society Annual Report
Law Society’s online annual
report details our performance for 2015 — with messages, charts, other
updates and financial statements — and lays out our strategic direction for
2015–19. Also view the 2015 Tribunal Annual
Report and the 2015
LibraryCo Inc. Annual Report.
Legal Education Series - Save these dates
31 - Access Awareness event - More information and to RSVP.
23 - National Aboriginal History Month event
28 - Pride Week event
of each event will be posted closer to the event date. See photos from
past events on our Facebook page.
26 - Convocation -
check this month's web
page for the link to online viewing of Convocation and the archived
30 - Final
date to file the 2015 Lawyer Annual Report and Class L3 Licence Annual Report. Failure to file by this
date will result in a $100 late fee on or about this date and referral for
suspension. NOTE: As of January 1, 2016, the process to report mixed
trusts accounts has changed. Learn
31 - Final
date to file the 2015 Multi-Discipline Partnership Report. Failure to file by
this date may result in referral for suspension on or about this date.
31 - Final
date to file the 2015 Affiliation Report. Failure to file by this date may result
in referral for suspension on or about this date.
23 - Convocation -
check this month's web
page for the link to online viewing of Convocation and the archived webcast.