New Zealand Law Society - Law Society recommends file notes for AML decisions

Law Society recommends file notes for AML decisions

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The New Zealand Law Society says it has become aware of a number of issues and concerns among lawyers since the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Funding of Terrorism Act 2009 regime became live for lawyers on 1 July 2018.

It says one example is some issues in relation to wire transfers that have not yet been satisfactorily resolved.

"The Law Society is liaising with the Department of Internal Affairs, but so far has not received firm guidance from the department in relation to the interpretation of that issue," it says.

The department is supervisor of the legal profession as a reporting entity under the AML/CFT Act.

"Lawyers are asked to continue to make reasonable attempts to interpret the legislation, to share their ideas with colleagues, until such time as these matters are clarified."

The Law Society says that in the meantime, lawyers are encouraged to keep file notes of the reasons for any decisions they make in relation to AML/CFT matters.

"This would include a decision not to make a suspicious activity report. The file note should set out the reasoning at the time the decision was made. Lawyers may wish to keep a copy in the relevant file and also in a general AML file."

Legal practitioners are advised to contact the Department of Internal Affairs directly if they have an issue:

"We have been advised by the department that it is increasing its staff resourcing in relation to AML. Please do not hesitate to contact the New Zealand Law Society if you are unable to find a solution directly from the Department of Internal Affairs and we will endeavour to provide guidance."

Inquiries to the Law Society can be made to