Under s 46 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 and s 9 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015 [NSW], a law practice must deposit a prescribed amount, out of the money that is held in a general trust account of the law practice into an ADI account maintained by the Law Society.
A law practice must make such deposits into the statutory deposit account in each ‘applicable period’, being the 3 months periods ending on 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December each year.
The Law Society holds the money deposited in trust for law practices and must repay it on demand. Until repaid, the money in the statutory deposit account may be invested by the Law Society. Any interest received on statutory deposit investments must be placed into the Public Purpose Fund, which is used to support services to the community, such as the Pro Bono Referral Scheme.
Statutory Deposit Calculator
The amount a law practice must deposit into the above statutory deposit account must be calculated in accordance with Clause 10 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Regulation 2015. To help law practices easily calculate this amount, the Trust Accounts Department has developed an online Statutory Deposit Calculator.
Request for determination of statutory deposit
If a law practice is unable to pay their minimum deposit it can seek permission from the Trust Accounts Department to pay a lesser amount. For permission to maintain a portion of a statutory deposit, your law practice will need to:
- Download and complete the Request for determination of statutory deposit form
- Return the form to the Law Society's Trust Accounts department
Opening/Depositing/Withdrawing a Statutory Deposit
Each authorised ADI has its own procedures relating to the opening of a statutory deposit account and deposits to and withdrawals from that account.
In the first instance, the law practice should approach the branch of the authorised ADI with which the general trust account has been opened. If the staff are not familiar with law practice trust accounts and statutory deposits, they should be encouraged to refer to their ‘Operations Manual’.
Generally, when opening a new statutory deposit account, the law practice must write a letter to the authorised ADI, on law practice letterhead and signed by the signatory/s, requesting the authorised ADI to open a statutory deposit account, being the “Law Society of NSW-Special Account" held by the authorised ADI.
If the staff at the branch are unable to assist, then the law practice should email a request for assistance to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate what authorised ADI your general trust account is held with.
When withdrawing money from the general trust account to deposit into a statutory deposit account, an entry should be made in the trust cash book recording the withdrawal/payment.
When withdrawing money from the statutory deposit account, the money must be deposited directly into the law practice’s general trust account and a trust receipt should be issued to record the receipt of the funds into the general trust account.
Closure of trust account
If a law practice is closing a trust account and changing ADI (bank) then it is necessary to firstly close the statutory deposit, place it in the trust account and then transfer the balance to the new ADI (bank) account.