The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note explains how to develop and embed a successful file audit/file review process in your firm. See Practice Note: File audits or file reviews—the basics for further information on why you should have a file audit/review system.
The SRA does not give any guidance on how to conduct file audits/reviews but the Lexcel standard says that the procedure must be independent, involve a review of either the management of the file or its substantive legal content, or both, and include:Lexcel England and Wales v6.1: Standard for legal practices, para 5.11
defining file selection criteria
defining the number and frequency of reviews
retaining a record of the file review on the matter file and centrally
ensuring any corrective action which is identified in a file review is acted upon within 28 days and verified by the reviewer
ensuring that the designated supervisor reviews and monitors the data generated by file reviews
conducting a review at least annually of the data generated by file reviews
A file audit/file review form should include prompts to assess whether the fee earner is complying with relevant regulatory requirements , eg:
are terms of business being sent out consistently with engagement letters?
are clients being told at the outset all the important cost information?
are complaints handled properly?
is client due diligence (CDD) information being obtained?
are information barriers and secrecy agreements being observed?
is the firm meeting data protection requirements?
are there engagement letters and are they signed by the right parties?
If you are Lexcel-accredited you will probably want to include any additional requirements from
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