In accordance with SRA Accounts Rules the Firm is required to account to clients for interest on money held by us in our client account when it is fair and reasonable to do so.
The holding of client money is incidental to the carrying out of clients’ instructions. We hold our client account funds with banks or building societies regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.
The rates of interest paid under this policy are unlikely to be as high as those obtainable by a client.
Interest will be paid where the amount calculated on the balance held exceeds £50.00. Where money is held in relation to separate matters for the same client, we will treat the matters separately, unless the matters are so closely related that they should be considered together.
Where client monies are held in our general client account, we will pay interest without deducting tax at source. Our clients will be responsible for declaring any interest to HM Revenue & Customs. Where, exceptionally, client monies are held in a designated deposit account, interest is usually paid net of basic rate income tax.
Interest will be calculated on a daily basis, using the rate of interest offered on our client account where Pickerings Solicitors holds general client funds.
Interest will be calculated on cleared client funds. In the case of cheques received, this will be 2 days after the cheque has been deposited with our bank, and for amounts received in cash, or via credit or debit card, standing orders, BACS and CHAPS, interest will accrue from the day of receipt into our client account.
Pickerings will normally account to the client for interest at the conclusion of the matter. Where we consider it appropriate on ongoing matters we will calculate and credit interest on a quarterly basis and annually at the end of May each year. Clients may contract out of receiving interest by signing a written agreement, available from our Accounts Manager, who must ensure that the client has been provided with sufficient information at the outset of the matter to enable them to give informed consent. Any interest credited in relation to funds held on behalf of clients is held on account and therefore may be earmarked to be transferred against any outstanding bill balances.
This interest policy, including the de minimis limit of £50.00 will be reviewed periodically, particularly if changes are made to the Bank of England’s Base Rate.
Complaints regarding this interest policy and the amount of interest paid should be directed to the Managing Director in the first instance. If this does not result in a satisfactory resolution, then clients may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman