Proctor : April 2018
24 PROCTOR | April 2018 Daily in Queensland Courts, Auscript: RECORDS 245 COURTROOMS MONITORS 3,000 MATTER SITTINGS DELIVERS, ON AVERAGE, 180 TRANSCRIPTS For transcript enquiries, estimates and orders, contact us today: P 1800 AUSCRIPT (1800 287 274) E email@example.com We understand that timing is everything. That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring a full record is captured and delivered fast. This helps improve the flow of proceedings and makes it easier for everyone to do their job successfully. Celebrating five years of servicing Queensland Courts What’s new in trust accounting The QLS Trust Account Investigation team provides an update on recent changes in trust accounting. In the last 18 months there have been several important developments in trust accounting. Here are the interesting ones you should know about: Abolition of the prescribed deposit account (from 1.1.17) The abolition of the prescribed deposit account, an outcome for which Queensland Law Society had long advocated, means that law practices now maintain all general trust monies in the one bank account. This eliminates the possibility of law practice trust accounts being overdrawn due to funds being held in the prescribed deposit account. Introduction of the Trust Account Consultancy program The Trust Account Consultancy program is a complimentary service for newly established law practices across Queensland. The program involves a QLS trust account investigator providing a one-on-one consultation with the law practice to assist the practice to comply with its trust accounting obligations. The one-on-one consultation is aimed at: • assessing the law practice’s existing procedures • answering specific concerns of the practice on trust accounting issues • providing guidance to the practice to enable it to improve its record management or procedures in relation to trust accounting. The benefits of the program are: • streamlined trust account processes • improved internal controls and risk management • improved accuracy and completeness of trust account records. Introduction of the Trust Account Referral Course The Trust Account Referral Course was introduced to provide legal practitioners, whose actions are capable of constituting unsatisfactory professional conduct or whose fitness to practice has been called into question, with additional awareness of their trust accounting obligations. Legal practitioners may be referred or recommended to complete the course by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Legal Practice Committee, the Legal Services Commission, or the Queensland Law Society Council or its Executive Committee. This one-day course is led by one of the Society’s trust account experts, who delivers specialised training in trust accounting, and explains the competencies expected of solicitors when handling trust money. Review of the Legal Profession Regulation 2007 The Queensland Government asked Queensland Law Society to undertake a review of the Legal Profession Regulation 2007 in early 2017. The Society, via its Trust Account Investigation team, made ten recommendations to the Queensland Government, of which nine were accepted, resulting in the Legal Profession Regulation 2017 which commenced on 1 September 2017. A summary of the changes to the regulations is shown in the online table that accompanies this article at medium.com/qldlawsociety. Over the last 18 months the Trust Account Investigation Unit has also: • undertaken more than 1200 investigations of law practices (Investigation of Affairs – 363; Trust Account Compliance Reviews – 787; and Trust Account Consultancies – 83) • received and responded to more than 7700 queries (3100 emails and 3600 phone calls) from law practices, external examiners and clients of law practices. Over 99% of queries were responded to on the same day as they were received • updated all resource material on the Society’s trust account resource page, including a re-write of the guidelines in relation to trust account operations in relation to PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) and electronic funds transfer (EFT). If you have any trust account questions, please contact us on 07 3854 5908 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Trust accounts This article and table summarising changes to the Legal Profession Regulation 2017 that commenced on 1 September 2017 are available at medium.com/ qldlawsociety.