Trust Safety Program

The Law Society’s mandate is to protect the public interest while setting high ethical and professional standards for lawyers which enable them to fulfill their duties. The Law Society’s Trust Safety department works to ensure the adequacy of internal controls, procedures, and systems. Trust Safety also supports lawyers in the proper management, accounting and safeguarding of funds entrusted to the law firm. Trust Safety staff are available to help. You can contact Trust Safety by email or telephone at 403.228.5632. If you need confidential advice about a specific trust account question, you can contact the Practice Advisors.  

All lawyers should have a basic understanding of the fiduciary duties they owe to clients with respect to trust property in accordance with the Trust Safety Responsible Lawyer and Trust Account Approval Protocol.  

Key Concepts:

    • Lawyers must safeguard, segregate and account for trust money and property.
    • Lawyers must be aware of specific trust conditions that are attached to trust money and property. If they cannot meet the specific trust conditions, they must either have the trust conditions amended or return the trust money or property.
    • If money or property appears to have been forwarded in trust but is not accompanied by express trust conditions, it is best practice to either clarify the trust conditions in writing or return the money or property.
    • Consequences of failing to comply with the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta include discipline, loss of Responsible Lawyer status and loss of the ability to operate a trust account.
    • Lawyers who are responsible for trust money or property should be aware of Part 5 of the Rules, understand the risks associated with protecting trust money and property, and be aware of the controls that should protect trust money and property.
    • A Responsible Lawyer can be liable for trust account losses caused by any employee or member of the firm.


The Law Society may at any time perform a compliance audit of your books, records and accounts to ensure they are properly maintained. If this occurs, you must immediately produce all records and supporting documentation, including client files (Rule 119.59(4)).

Audits can be risk-based depending on the exceptions identified in your Electronic Data Upload, Accountant’s Report or any other reporting submitted to the Law Society. Audits may also be rotational. See more on our website.

Last modified: Monday, 21 August 2023, 11:26 AM