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By-Law 9 in Legal Recordkeeping: Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Proper recordkeeping is essential for lawyers in Ontario to maintain their professional obligations. By-Law 9 outlines the requirements for recordkeeping, including retention periods.


Here are some of the key recordkeeping obligations and their respective retention periods:


Trust Receipts & Disbursements Journal

A record of all receipts and disbursements of trust money for clients, including the date, method, amount, document identifier, and purpose.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.


Client Trust Ledger

A record of all money received and disbursed for each client’s trust account, including any unexpended balance.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.


Trust to Trust Transfer Journal

A record of all transfers of trust money between client trust ledger accounts, including the purpose of each transfer.


Retention period: 6 years plus current.


General Receipts & Disbursements Journal

A record of all non-trust money received and disbursed, including the date, method, amount, document identifier, and person.


Retention period: 6 years plus current.


Fees Book or Chronological File of Copies of Billings

A record of all fees charged and other billings to clients, including the date, client, and amount.


Retention period: 6 years plus current.


Monthly Trust Reconciliation and Comparison

A monthly comparison of the trust account balance and balance per accounting records, including reasons for any differences. Required by the 25th of each month.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.


Valuable Property Record

A record of any non-monetary property held in trust for clients, including a description, date received, value, client, and date given away.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.


Bank Statements or Passbooks, Cashed Cheques, Detailed Duplicate Deposit Slips

A record of all trust and general account transactions.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.


Electronic Trust Transfer Records

A record of signed electronic trust transfer requisitions and confirmations.


Retention period: 10 years plus current.

 

Cash Received

A record of all cash received, including the date, person, amount, client, file number, and signatures.


Retention period: 6 years plus current.


The stringent accounting principles and recordkeeping stipulations outlined in By-Law 9 serve as a deterrent to potential malfeasance. Its design is specifically geared towards safeguarding client trust and interests, establishing thorough regulations for the handling of client funds.


Compliance with By-Law 9's recordkeeping requirements is imperative for lawyers to fulfill their professional obligations. Licensees must securely maintain these records for the stipulated period to adhere to legal requirements, as failure to do so may lead to disciplinary actions. Crucially, the safeguarding of clients' records is paramount for preserving the accuracy of trust funds.


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Keith Hill Jr. is the Principal at Bookkeeping Matters Inc (BMI). For over a decade, Bookkeeping Matters has been fulfilling bookkeeping needs for lawyers throughout Ontario and other provinces. As a former Legal Accounting professor, Keith has also positioned BMI as a premier provider of online legal accounting training. Specializing in several practice management software, Keith and his team can be contacted at: info@bookkeepingmatters.ca / 1-800-893-2820 / www.BookkeepingMatters.ca

 

 

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