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Dormant client accounts

We are asking companies to donate unclaimed client account balances to Meningitis Now – a process which is simple and approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

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What are dormant funds?

Unclaimed client account balances are sums of money which lie dormant in the client account of many companies, often untouched for years. It may be that the rightful owner cannot be traced, or perhaps they will not provide instructions on how the funds should be dealt with.

An attempt may have been made to return the monies to the client, but the cheque has remained un-cashed. Regardless of their age or origin, these balances can all be disposed of cost-effectively and permanently.

Is permission required from the SRA to donate these to charity?

Where the rightful owner cannot be traced, Rule 5.1(c) of the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules permit balances under £500 to be paid to charity without SRA permission.

Amounts over £500 can also be paid to charity, providing SRA permission is granted by completing the SAR RULE 5.1c application-information form and sending to Professional.ethics@sra.org.uk or Professional Ethics, SRA. The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN or DX720293 Birmingham 47.


Meningitis Now has produced a guide to make the process of donating unclaimed client balances easy. This resource includes:

  • Guidance on the rules governing dormant client account balances
  • Steps a company should take to ensure they comply with SRA regulations
  • List of useful resources when trying to trace beneficiaries
  • Template letter for use when contacting client account holders about dormant accounts and the release of funds
  • Supporting template letter from Meningitis Now to send to the owner of the dormant funds
  • Instructions on how to donate balances to Meningitis Now
Download this guide