Law Practice Client Records UK

Description of Business Function

The function performed by a law firm and/or solicitors, as well as barristers.

Basis of Retention and Disposition

Guidance on retention is provided by the Law Society. The Law Society states that you should also consider any file retention requirements of your indemnity insurers when assessing the appropriate length of time to retain client files.

Please also see The Law Society Practice Note on Depositing records and documents with public sector archives http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/depositing-records-files/

Firms will need to take account of legislation including the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, Data Protection Act 1998, the Limitation Act 1980 and the statutory need to keep Accounting Records.

The Bar Standards Board regulates barristers and provides guidance on record keeping – see below.

Please also see the Legal Affairs page.

Retention Rules Per Record Type

General Guidance

The Law Society guidance on client Care Information can be found here http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/client-care-letters/

For Barristers’ Chambers, the following Bar Standards Board guidance has a section on Administration and record keeping https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/media/1580337/public_access_guidance_for_barristers_-_jan_2014.pdf

Wills and Probate

The Law Society guidance can be found here https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/file-retention-wills-probate/

Trusts

The Law Society guidance can be found here https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/file-retention-trusts/

Client Due Diligence

Information on retention of client due diligence files, see paragraph 3.8 of the Law Society’s anti-money laundering practice note http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/Advice/Practice-notes/AML/Systems-policies-and-procedures/#h3spprecs

Citations and References

Data Protection Act 1998 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents

The Limitation Act 1980 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/58/contents

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/2157/contents/made

The Solicitors Regulation Authority Handbook http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/welcome.page

The Bar Standards Board regulates barristers called to the Bar in England and Wales in the public interest https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/

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