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Law Society releases guidance on suspicious transactions and activities

07 December 2017

The Law Society has released three guides for lawyers on the requirements and ethical considerations of reporting suspicious activities and transactions when the Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism phase 2 requirements apply from 1 July 2018.

The guides, the first in a series called "Preparing for AML/CFT", are available on the Law Society website in a section focused on collecting advice and information on AML/CFT for lawyers. These contains links to cases and other material referenced in each guide. A PDF version of each guide may also be downloaded.

Suspicious transactions and activities looks at the test as to whether a transaction is suspicious and outlines "red flag" factors which can give rise to suspicion about an activity or transaction. A PDF version is available here.

Continuing to act after filing suspicious activity report states that the fact that a lawyer has grounds to suspect their client may be involved in money laundering or financing terrorism does not mean that their duty to complete the retainer no longer exists. The guide considers anti-"tipping off" measures, good cause for termination where there is suspicion, and some "red flags" that lawyers may wish to consider at the start of an instruction. A PDF version is available here.

Privilege, confidentiality and reporting suspicious activities looks at the obligations of confidentiality and legal professional privilege and how they will or will not apply under the AML/CFT regime. The guide notes that there will be times when competing tensions may arise between a lawyer's ethicial duties to clients, and the obligations placed on lawyers under the AML/CFT Act. A PDF version is available here.

Last updated on the 7th December 2017