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  6. How long should I retain my closed files in storage?

How long should I retain my closed files in storage?

I want to know how long I should retain my closed files in storage.

There is no specific Law Society guidance stating how long a file should be retained in storage. Firms therefore need to decide how long they wish to store closed files taking into account relevant statutory provisions such as limitation periods and UK Finance Mortgage Lenders' Handbook requirements where relevant.

In your client care letter, you should advise the client how long you will retain the file and outline what will happen to the file after that time.

You should also advise the client of any costs relating to any of the following:

a) storage

b) retrieval

c) additional copies of papers requested by the client.

If you intend to store documents in an electronic format, you should first consider whether the absence of paper documents will be detrimental to the client's interests before you agree such storage methods with your client.

You should also consider any file retention requirements of your professional indemnity insurers when assessing the appropriate length of time to retain files.

For further information:

i) Retention of client due diligence files, see Regulation 40 of The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.

ii) Retention of Wills and Probate Practice Note;

iii) Retention of Trusts Practice Note;

iv) File Closure Management Practice Note;

are all available in the Law Society's Practice Notes section

Have you got a practice question? Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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