External examination FAQs
External examination requirements
Law practices and approved barristers’ clerks who operate trust accounts are required to keep trust records. These records must be examined by an external examiner (EE) each trust examination year. The trust examination year runs from 1 April – 31 March.
For the purposes of the examination, a law practice or approved clerk must provide the EE with their accounting or other records relating to the affairs of the practice or approved barristers' clerk, as well as any other information the EE reasonably requires. Penalties apply for failing to comply with these requirements.
EEs must provide end of trust year documentation to the Board by 31 May each year.
EEs, law practices and approved barristers' clerks will be contacted directly to inform them of the end of trust examination year requirements. The trust examination year requirements via LSB Online open on Tuesday 4 April 2023.
Resources for External Examiners
The Board has produced several resources to assist External Examiners when completing an external examination.
Visit the Resources for External Examiners page for frequently asked questions, and our Canaries in the Coal Mine video presentation providing guidance for completing external examinations.
Examination on ceasing to be authorised to receive trust money
Law practices and approved barristers' clerks who cease to be authorised to receive trust money must also have their trust records examined by an EE for any part of the trust examination year in which they were authorised to receive trust money. Law practices or approved barristers' clerks must also lodge examination reports for each trust examination year and any remaining period during which they continue to hold trust money. These reports must be lodged with the Board within 60 days after the end of the relevant examination period (See Rule 68(4) of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015.
The Act imposes heavy penalties for failing to comply with this requirement.
Approved trust accounting software
There are several trust accounting software packages available on the market. Before purchasing one of them, make sure it has the capacity to comply with the law.
A list of trust accounting software packages that have been examined and certified by the Trust Accounts Department of the NSW Law Society can be found on their website.
External examiner reporting
All parts of the annual trust examination reporting is conducted via LSB Online. Parts A and B are completed by the law practice. The External Examiner can then submit their report. If you are having any difficulties in submitting any part of the annual reporting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below you will find links to our how-to video guide for completing the External Examiners report in LSB Online, as well as a guide for how to complete both Parts A and B of the end of trust year report.