3.2 Trust Safety Program
The Law Society’s mandate is to protect the public and support lawyers to enable them to fulfill their duties. The Law Society’s Trust Safety Program was designed to ensure the adequacy of procedures and systems, providing tools, and assistance to Responsible Lawyers and performing audits.
All lawyers should have a basic understanding of the fiduciary duties (Trust Safety: Responsible Lawyer and Trust Account Approval Protocol) they owe to clients with respect to trust property. Some key concepts include:
- Lawyers must safeguard, segregate and account for trust property.
- Lawyers must be aware of specific trust conditions that are attached to trust property. If they cannot meet the specific trust conditions, they must either have the trust conditions amended or return the trust property.
- If property appears to have been forwarded in trust but is not accompanied by express trust conditions, the lawyer must either clarify the trust conditions in writing or return the property.
- Consequences of failing to comply with Trust Safety rules include discipline, loss of Responsible Lawyer status and loss of the ability to operate a trust account.
- A lawyer can be liable for trust account losses caused by a member of the firm.
- Lawyers who are responsible for trust funds (i.e., are responsible for a matter that results in funds being held in trust) should be aware of the Law Society’s accounting rules, understand the risks associated with protecting trust funds and property, and be aware of the controls that should protect trust monies and property.
Our Trust Safety staff are friendly and knowledgeable people. You can contact them by email or by telephone at 403.228.5632. If you need confidential advice about a specific trust account questions, you can contact the Practice Advisors.