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Solicitors (Northern Ireland) Order 1976

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Accountants' reportsN.I.

35.—(1) Every solicitor shall once in each period of twelve months ending on 5th January, unless he satisfies the Council that owing to the circumstances of his case it is unnecessary so to do, deliver to the Society a report signed by an accountant (in this Article referred to as “an accountant's report”) and containing such information as may be prescribed.

(2) An accountant's report shall be delivered to the Society not more than six months (or such other period as may be prescribed) after the end of the accounting period[F1 for the purposes of] that report.

(3) Subject to regulations, the accounting period for the purposes of an accountant's report shall—

(a)begin at the expiry of the last preceding accounting period for which an accountant's report has been delivered;

(b)cover not less than twelve months; and

(c)where possible, consistently with sub-paragraphs ( a) and ( b), correspond to a period or consecutive periods for which the accounts of the solicitor or his firm are ordinarily made up.

(4) The Society shall make regulations to give effect to the provisions of this Article, and those regulations shall prescribe—

(a)what qualification shall be held by an accountant by whom an accountant's report may be given;

(b)the information to be contained in an accountant's report in accordance with paragraph (1);

(c)the nature and extent of the examination to be made by the accountant of the books and accounts of a solicitor or his firm and of any other relevant documents with a view to the signing of a report to be delivered by the solicitor under this Article;

(d)the form of the accountant's report; and

(e)the evidence (if any) which shall satisfy the Council that the delivery of an accountant's report is unnecessary and the cases in which such evidence is or is not required.

(5) Regulations may include provision—

(a)permitting in such special circumstances as may be defined in the regulations a different accounting period from that specified in paragraph (3); and

(b)regulating any matters of procedure or matters incidental, ancillary or supplemental to the provisions of this Article.

[F1(5A) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (5)(b), regulations under this Article may make provision requiring a solicitor in advance of delivering an accountant's report to notify the Society of the period which is to be the accounting period for the purposes of that report in accordance with the preceding provisions of this Article.]

(6) If any solicitor fails to comply with the provisions of this Article or of any regulations made thereunder, a complaint in respect of that failure may be made by or on behalf of the Society to the[F1 Tribunal].

(7) A certificate under the hand of the secretary shall, until the contrary is proved, be evidence that a solicitor has or, as the case may be, has not delivered to the Society an accountant's report or supplied any evidence required under this Article or regulations.

(8) This Article shall not apply to any solicitor to whom regulations under Article 33(1)( a) to ( c) do not apply by virtue of paragraph (3) of that Article; and in relation to a solicitor to whom those regulations apply by virtue of that paragraph only as regards money received, held or paid in the course of a private practice, this Article shall have effect only in relation to such money.

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