Regulatory Requirements

Accounting and Trust Records

Rule 1529(2) of the Law Society Rules provides that trust books, records, and accounts as listed in subrules 1519(a) and (b) and subrule 1520(c), must be retained for at least ten years. Other books, records, and accounts required under Part 15 of the Rules must be maintained for at least six years. Rule 1530 states that the books, records, and accounts pertaining to the most recent two-year period must be stored at your chief place of practice in Saskatchewan. Older books, records, and accounts may be stored elsewhere in Saskatchewan.

 

Client Identification and Verification Records

In addition to rules respecting the retention of trust books, records, and accounts, Rule 1546 requires lawyers to retain a copy of every document used to verify the identity of a client for the duration of the lawyer and client relationships and for as long as is necessary for the purpose of providing service to the client or for at least six years following completion of the work for which the lawyer was retained, whichever is longer.

 

Other Records and Files

The Rules do not impose a file retention period for other records and files. Considerations respecting file retention for non-accounting and trust records are discussed later in this module under “File Retention Periods.”

 

Client Documents

Section 3.5 of the Professional Code of Conduct speaks to your obligations regarding the preservation of clients’ property. Section 3.5 lists “original documents such as wills, title deeds, minute books, licences, certificates and the like, and all other papers such as client’s correspondence, files reports, invoices and other such documents” as “property” belonging to your client. Section 3.5-1 goes on to state that you must:

  1. care for a client’s property as a careful and prudent owner would when dealing with like property; and
  2. observe all relevant rules and law about the preservation of a client’s property entrusted to a lawyer.

 

Requirements upon Withdrawal from Practice

If you withdraw from Practice, Rule 2301 requires that before you withdraw, you inform the Executive Director how you intend to dispose of your open and closed files and other documents and valuables connected to your practice. Within 3 months after withdrawing from practice, you must confirm with the Executive Director how you have disposed of your documents and property.