The Court Funds Office holds unclaimed sums of money dating back to the year 1726 and is responsible for the unclaimed balances fund. The fund is made up of money paid into court that has not been claimed after a reasonable period of time, usually ten years, or where the account holder cannot be found.
Searching the unclaimed balances fund
If you would like to search the unclaimed balances fund and you know the account name and/or account number you can enter those details into our online unclaimed balances index:
If you find an account in the index that you feel you are entitled to you should write to us at the following address:
Court Funds Office
DX: 501757 Cowglen
Your letter should include a printed report from the index showing the relevant account. To help us determine if you are entitled to further information about the account you must also provide as much information as you can about the account and your entitlement to it, for example:
- The title of the court proceedings
- The name of the court
- Relevant dates
- The name of the person who lodged the money into court
- The name of the person for whose benefit the funds were lodged
- Details of the link between you and any of the above
We will also need proof of identification (such as a copy of your passport or driving licence) and evidence of your interest in the fund (such as a copy of a court order). Please do not send any original documents. Copies are acceptable.
If you do not know the account name or number and would like us to perform the search on your behalf please write to us at above address. In order for us to perform the search you will need to provide the same information as listed above.
Please be aware that:
- The Court Funds Office cannot advise on whether you are entitled to the money - that is for a judge to decide
- Court Funds Office records are confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone who cannot provide evidence of their interest in an account
- The Court Funds Office does not hold any original court documents. You will need to contact the relevant court directly who will be able to provide you with further information about obtaining original court documents
- The Court Funds Office cannot answer any questions about entitlement by descent or relationship, legal procedures or selection of legal advisers
- The Court Funds Office does not employ 'unclaimed money agents' (persons who claim to be able to recover money held in court for a fee or a percentage of the amount). We recommend that you seek independent advice before making a payment to any agency in respect of money alleged to be held in court on your behalf
Making a claim
We will notify you in writing of the result of any search we perform on your behalf. To obtain payment out you will have to apply to the court that originally dealt with the case. Applications to the court attract a fee and it is possible that the fund may turn out to be of lesser value than the fee charged.
Where the court of origin is unable to deal with an application for payment out because it no longer holds any paperwork in relation to the original proceedings, an application may be made to the Senior Master of the Queen's Bench Division instead. An application to the Senior Master must be accompanied by a witness statement
The court will notify us if your application is successful. We will then process the payment and send a cheque to your bank account. Please note that the process can take up to 3 months. The CFO cannot take responsibility for any delay in the payment out of funds and you should not rely on funds being available until the cheque has been cleared in your bank account.
An unclaimed balance refers to an account that has been opened in the Court Funds Office, and where no activity on the account has taken place for a period of 10 years.
The CFO will try and trace any beneficiary of an unclaimed balance if it is over £400. The CFO employs a number of methods and procedures to trace people.
We keep a register of all cases in the Unclaimed Balances Fund. If you believe that you are entitled to any of this money, please contact our Customer Services Helpline on 0845 223 8500 and we will be happy to give you advice on how to make a claim.
For further information, please see our leaflet Notes for guidance on Unclaimed Funds in Chancery.