National Australia Bank Escrow Service for the New South Wales Bar

The NAB Escrow Service (the Escrow Service) is a free, on-line banking service provided by National Australia Bank (the NAB) exclusively to barrister members of the NSW Bar Association and their clients to enable money for barristers’ fees to be held securely until the work is done. 

The Escrow Service is the result of a major cooperative project between the NSW Bar Association and the NAB to help barristers, solicitors and clients.

Barristers who are members of the NSW Bar Association can use the NAB Escrow Service to request that funds be deposited into the Escrow account for later payment of fees upon the completion of the work and billing by the barrister.

A barrister’s solicitor or clients can deposit money to be held securely by NAB prior to work being completed. NAB will then release the funds once the work is confirmed to have been done.

The barrister will have access to an on-line portal to request deposits of funds, request release of funds, or to request the refund of excess funds.  The NAB, as escrow agent, allows the barrister access to create new accounts for each matter, monitor funds held, and make all requests electronically.

Please note that a request for payment is not a cost agreement and a barrister is still required to provide a cost agreement to a client or solicitor to outline their fees.

How Does It Work?

  1. Once the client has agreed to use the Escrow Service, NAB will require their details to undertake a quick due diligence check to comply with regulatory requirements/rules.
  2. Meanwhile, the barrister uses the Escrow Service to send a ‘Deposit Request’ email to the solicitor or client with the amount required, due date, unique matter reference and instructions on how to transfer funds.
  3. When funds are deposited, the barrister is notified. Until the work is done and paid for, or the funds refunded, the NAB will hold the deposited funds as stakeholder for the barrister and client.  No payment or refund will take place without each party’s consent.
  4. Finally, when the work is done, and the barrister has issued an invoice, the barrister uses the Escrow Service to send a ‘Payment Release’ request by email to the payer asking for funds to be released from the Escrow Account to pay the invoice. 

Payment will occur by default, unless the solicitor or client contacts the NAB within five business days to object to the release.  If no objection is made, the funds will be transferred to the barrister’s nominated bank account after the release date.  If there is an objection, no funds will be transferred until the barrister and the provider of funds reach agreement and notify NAB of the agreement.

If any funds are left in escrow at the end of the matter, the barrister or the provider of the funds can request NAB to refund the payment electronically to the provider. Both parties will need to consent to any refund.

Find out more

Further information on the Escrow service can be found at the dedicated NAB webpage which can be found here. This includes fact sheets, training videos and the terms and conditions.

For clients and solicitors, NAB have produced a factsheet which can be found here.

For Barristers, more information can be found on the Members Dashboard here.