Under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015, a law practice is required to have its trust records externally examined once in each financial year if it has received or held trust money, excluding transit money.
An external examination covers a law practice’s trust records from the beginning of April to the end of March in the following year. A report on the examination must be lodged with the Law Society by 31 May each year.
To view the legislative basis for this requirement, see:
- Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) - Chapter 4 Business practice and professional conduct, Part 4.2 Trust money and trust accounts, Division 3 External examinations of trust records.
- Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 - Chapter 4 Business practice and professional conduct, Part 4.2 Trust money and trust accounts, Division 4 External examinations.
Information for legal practices
Appointing an External Examiner
Your law practice must appoint an external examiner to complete a written external examiner's report on your trust records, which the examiner then forwards to the Law Society by 31 May each year. Find an external examiner.
Law practices are required to notify the Law Society of the person appointed as their external examiner and must also notify the Law Society when they terminate an appointment.
To notify the Law Society complete the Notification of appointment or cessation of external examiner form and return it completed to the Trust Accounts Department. Further, prior to terminating the appointment of an external examiner the law practice is required to seek the approval of the designated local regulatory authority - the Law Society. To request approval complete the Request for Approval for Termination of External Examiner form.
Information for examiners
In addition to the information above, external examiners should familiarise themselves with the following documents:
How to become an examiner
Rule 65 of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015 provides for the following classes of persons who may be appointed as external examiners. The classes are:
- members of CPA Australia holding a current Public Practice Certificate issued by that body;
- members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand holding a current Certificate of Public Practice issued by that body;
- members of the Institute of Public Accountants holding a current Professional Practice Certificate issued by that body;
- persons registered as auditors under Part 9.2 of the Corporations Act;
- employees or agents of the designated local regulatory authority; and
- have successfully completed a course of education approved by the Legal Services Council.
Please contact the Trust Account Department at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information regarding education courses.