Q&As

An unrepresented party agreed to the proceeds of sale of a property being held by their spouse’s solicitors and later stated to those solicitors that the funds could be used to pay their spouse’s rent. If that party then removes their consent, can the spouse’s solicitors continue to pay the rent from the proceeds of sale?

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Produced in partnership with Paul Infield of The 36 Group
Published on LexisPSL on 26/10/2020

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Paul Infield of The 36 Group provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An unrepresented party agreed to the proceeds of sale of a property being held by their spouse’s solicitors and later stated to those solicitors that the funds could be used to pay their spouse’s rent. If that party then removes their consent, can the spouse’s solicitors continue to pay the rent from the proceeds of sale?

It is assumed that:

  1. no order has been made as to the payment of rent from the proceeds of sale

  2. the consent given was not irrevocable

Joint proceeds of sale should be held in the solicitor’s client account. Such an account is defined by section 87 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (SA 1974) as meaning an account subject to rules under SA 1974, s 32(1)(a). That section, in turn, provides for the Law Society to make rules 'as to the opening and keeping by solicitors of accounts at banks or with building societies for money within subsection (1A)'. In turn, SA 1974, s 32(1)(a) says that 'The money referred to in subsection (1) is money (including money held on trust) which is received, held or dealt with for clients or other persons’.

The current rules made under SA 1974, s 32(1)(a) are the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Accounts Rules 2019, which form part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority Standards and Regulations.

Rule 5.1 of the SRA Accounts Rules says:

'You only withdraw client money from a client account:

(a) for the purpose for

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