The Solicitors Regulation Authority is planning a new definition of ‘client money’ which would exclude fees and disbursements. The move is part of its overhaul of the Solicitors Accounts Rules, which could also open the way for more solicitors to hold client money in third-party managed accounts.
The Legal Director, a legal consultancy which provides in-house lawyers to businesses on a contract basis, has become the first firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to use the Bar Council’s third-party escrow account, BARCO.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has issued its first waiver to a law firm it regulates to allow it to use the Bar Council’s escrow service BARCO, with three other firms in the pipeline, it has emerged.
The Bar Council has joined forces with a legal credit finance specialist to enable direct access barristers to offer payment plans to their clients. BARCO, the Bar’s escrow account, will hold the loans obtained for clients by Legal Cost Finance.
A request by the Bar Council for law firms to be given automatic access to BARCO has been rejected by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, it has emerged.
Ten chambers have signed up to the pilot of Barco, the Bar Council’s third-party escrow account that will allow barristers to handle client money. It follows the Financial Services Authority granting regulatory approval for the service under the Payment Services Regulations.
Barristers using the new escrow account so they can deal with client money will not retain any interest, it has emerged. The Bar Council’s BARCO scheme should also prove difficult to defraud, according to the man who has led its development.
Barristers will soon be able to offer a full range of legal services after the Bar Council unveiled a third-party escrow account which will hold client money. All funds are to be held in a ring-fenced account with Barclays.