Monies taken from a client by Debit/Credit card is held in the Firm’s Client Account and is clearly marked for the purpose for which it was understood as taken, typically on account of search fees, court fees other disbursements or our costs, as per our Terms & Conditions.
Refunds back to the originating card would only happen on those rare occasions where a conflict search shows we are unable to continue to act. To adhere to Law Society Rules the request for a refund must be agreed and signed off by the Fee Earner in charge of the file and / or a Partner before presenting the request to the Finance Dept. to action.
As card details are not stored the Finance Dept. would need contact details of the client to facilitate the refund over the telephone in much the same way as taking a card payment from them over the phone. They will need the card the payment originated from.
Clients will not be able to facilitate a refund using the online card payment options.
At the conclusion of a matter any residue Client monies must be returned to the client as soon as possible. Again this must be signed off by Fee Earner/Partner and normally the refund is by cheque or bank transfer in order to comply with the audit rules and documentary evidence to prove the client has been refunded.