Launch of New South Wales Bar Association NAB Escrow Service
Members may recall that in 2018 the National Australia Bank (NAB) and the New South Wales Bar Association signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an Escrow Service for NSW barristers to facilitate a more secure and efficient mechanism to handle fees. After two years of hard work, I am pleased to formally launch the Escrow Service today.
The Escrow Account is designed to give barristers greater security for payment. Prepayments by a client or solicitor for a barrister’s services are deposited into an Escrow Account which is owned by an Escrow Agent and held by that agent as stakeholder prior to the barrister’s services being provided. The Escrow Account is not a trust account or controlled monies account.
The monies in the Escrow Account are released to the barrister or back to the client on certain terms and conditions. Once the work has been completed, with the client’s consent, monies are released to the barrister, to ensure that barristers are promptly remunerated for work.
The Escrow Account also relieves solicitors of the need to take money for counsel in their trust account while also providing security for the client as deposited funds are released back to the client if the work is not done or if there is an overpayment.
In recent months the Escrow Service has been piloted by a number of members with great success. The service is free to members of the NSW Bar and the NAB has provided high level personal service in on-boarding members and demonstrating how the service operates. I encourage you to consider this service moving forward. Detailed information, including how to sign up for the Escrow facility, can be found here.
I would like to thank the National Australia Bank for joining with us in developing this service which has the potential to be an extremely useful tool for barristers. I would particularly like to thank David Ashton, Product Manager, Business and Corporate Institutional Deposits and his team at the NAB who have taken the lead in this project. David also has twice attended our regional conferences to update members on how the project was progressing which is a testament to the NAB’s commitment to the project.
I would also like to thank Justin Hogan-Doran who proposed this idea back in 2015 and who has seen it through all the way to the end. In addition I would like to thank Mark Brabazon SC and the Costs and Fees Committee for their help as well as others who have assisted the Association over several years to deliver this important project.
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