Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund
If you have lost trust money or property due to the dishonest conduct of a solicitor or law firm you may be able to receive compensation from the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund.
How does the Fund work?
Administered by the Law Society, the Fund receives annual contributions from solicitors as part of their Practising Certificate requirements. The money received is used to pay compensation to members of the public who successfully claim financial loss due to a solicitor’s or firm’s dishonest failure to pay or deliver trust money or property.
Who may make a claim?
You do not have to be a client of the solicitor or firm that has committed the dishonesty. Any person who has suffered financial loss may make a claim on the Fidelity Fund.
How do I make a claim?
There are specific financial and time limitations in relation to claims against the Fund. Notify the Fidelity Fund Manager at the Law Society in writing as soon as you become aware of your loss or suspect that a solicitor or firm has acted dishonestly in relation to trust money or property.
What happens after my notification?
The Law Society will send you a Claim form and an Information Brochure.
- Read the Information Brochure.
- Complete and return the Claim form to the Law Society. We recommend that you engage a new solicitor to assist you in the completion of the Claim form.
- Upon receipt of your Claim form, the Law Society may make further enquiries to fully investigate your claim.
- The Fidelity Fund Management Committee will decide your claim. It can allow or disallow your claim, or compromise or settle it.
What can I recover from the Fidelity Fund?
If your claim is successful you can receive compensation for:
- the specific sum which you have lost as a result of the dishonesty
- interest on this amount, and
- the reasonable costs of the new solicitor acting for you in regards to your Fidelity Fund claim.
The Information Brochure sent with your Claim form has more details about how the interest and costs are calculated.
What does the Fund cover?
The Fidelity Fund is not an insurance scheme. It does not cover claims for negligence by a solicitor or a law firm. In some circumstances the Fund will not cover regulated mortgages, managed investment schemes or other investment money placed with a solicitor. The Information Brochure sent with your Claim form contains more information.
Advertisement for claims
The Law Society may advertise in the press if it has fixed a final date for receipt of Fidelity Fund claims against a particular solicitor or law firm. The current advertisements can also be viewed on the Current notices page.
If you believe you have suffered loss from one of these solicitors or firms you may make a claim to the Fidelity Fund. Your claim must be received by the Fidelity Fund Manager no later than the final date fixed in the advertisement. A late claim will only be considered if the Law Society allows further time.
If a solicitor or law firm is not advertised you can still make a claim.
Financial limits on claims
For almost all Fidelity Fund claims, there is a limit on payments of a total of $1,000,000 for all claims against a particular solicitor or firm. The Law Society may increase this total amount above $1,000,000, but is not obliged to do so.
However, for one specific type of claim on the Fidelity Fund (for “dishonest default” under the Legal Profession Act 1987) there is a different financial limit of $1,000 for each dishonest default.