Closing a Matter

Modified on Mon, 30 Jan 2023 at 07:13 PM

This article will walk you through how to close a matter and some potential reasons you may not be able to close a matter.

In order to close a matter, you first have to make sure that all tasks are completed.

Closing a single matter

  1. Click into the "Tasks" tab
  2. Select any outstanding tasks and either set the status to complete or delete them

    Tasks tab within a matter

  3. Next, you have to move the matter to the step at the end of the step tree. This means that when looking at the workflow ribbon, there are no steps after it

    The closed step within the workflow ribbon on a matter

    The bright green step in the workflow ribbon indicates the step that you are on, while the yellow indicates the future steps available.

  4. Click on the yellow step and select to move to the closed step
  5. Confirm the status is set to 'Closed' and click on the 'Change step' button to confirm

    The change step screen on a matter

    You should then see the 'Closed' banner across the top matter panel

    A matter with the closed banner






Q.How can I tell if a step is a close step? 

A.For users with administrative access, you can always check the status of a step by heading to Admin > Matter Types > {your matter type} > Workflow > {your step} and checking the 'Matter Status' field. Alternatively, when changing the step on the matter you can check the "Set the status to" field. This field will default to the status you've set for that step in your workflow. 

Step change screen on a matter

Q.What if I need to close a matter before the end of the workflow? 

A.Actionstep recommends building alternate close steps throughout your workflow. An alternate close step is a step that you make available as an alternative to another step of your workflow. For example, the step choices that follow an "Initial Meeting" step might be "Client Engagement" or "Closed." The more optional close steps you have throughout your workflow the easier it is to mark a matter as closed. For more information on customizing your step tree please see our Introduction to Workflows user guide articles.

The workflow step tree

Q.How can I tell if a matter is closed? 

A.When a view is filtered to display closed matters, the matter name and primary participant will be struck through on the list view.

List view with closed matters struck-through


A stamp indicating an action is closed will also appear on the action overview screen.

The closed banner on a matter


Q.I have done the above but I get an error message stating it cannot be set to 'Closed'?

Cannot close error message on a matter

A. Reasons a matter might not close:

  • If there are funds in trust.
  • If there's money outstanding - if there is an outstanding invoice, you can't close the matter until the invoice has been paid or written off. 
  • If there are incomplete tasks - as mentioned at the beginning of the article, a matter cannot be closed if there are incomplete tasks - this means that you have to either complete the outstanding tasks on the matter or delete them if they were not applicable.
  • If the matter is not at the end of the step tree.
  • If the closed step in the workflow is not configured to set the status to closed - when configuring the closed step in the workflow for a matter type (Admin > Matter Types > Matter type in question > Workflow), the 'Matter status' on the closed step should be set to 'Closed'

    The setting to determine a workflow steps status in the admin section

    In this scenario, if the matter was already on the closed step and you update the status in the workflow settings, this will not automatically update the matter. You will need to manually update the matter status to closed. You can do this by selecting the 'i' on the matter and then selecting the 'Edit' button.

    The 'edit' button in matter properties

    There you can set the status to 'Closed'

    The status dropdown in matter properties


Q.I have a lot of active matters that actually should be closed? What do I do? 

A.The solution will be dependent on the reason why the matters are still active when they shouldn't be.

For example:

  • If staff are stuck in a workflow, you may want to add jump steps to the closed step.
  • If it's because there was money outstanding, make sure invoices have been paid or written off and that all trust/client monies have been cleared.
  • Make sure that all tasks have been completed in relation to the matters.
  • If it's because the closed step was configured to keep the status active, you can change it to closed. 

Q.I have fixed all the problems but we have hundreds of matters open and we don't want to spend time going back and manually closing them all down - is there another way? 

A. It is possible to close down matters in bulk using the export/import feature of Actionstep. 

Doing an export/import can have a serious impact and change all the data within your system if not done correctly. For this reason, we recommend obtaining advice/service from a Certified Consulting Partner before doing this.

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