A last-minute change to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill replaced the definition of "law firm" to correct an unintended error.
The bill received its third reading on 3 August 2017 and means law firms will be brought into the AML/CFT regime from 1 July 2018 (or earlier if decided by Order in Council).
The definition of "law firm" in clause 5 was changed after release of Supplementary Order Paper 352 on 1 August by Justice Minister Amy Adams.
The amendment followed an approach by the New Zealand Law Society in a letter to Ms Adams which supported concerns raised by some law firms; to ensure that a law firm partnership should be treated as a single reporting entity.
The proposed change was accepted and the SOP amendment made to the bill.
The provision now reads: "Law firm means - (a) a barrister or a barrister and solicitor who is practising on the barrister's or barrister and solicitor's own account in sole practice; (b) in relation to 2 or more barristers and solicitors practising law in partnership, the partnership; (c) an incorporated law firm."
This replaces the previous version which stated: "Law firm means - (a) a barrister or barrister and solicitor, practising on the barrister's or barrister and solicitor's own account (whether in partnership or otherwise); (c) an incorporated law firm."