New Zealand Law Society - Legal profession now RealMe participating agency

Legal profession now RealMe participating agency

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The legal profession in New Zealand is now a participating agency under the Electronic Identity Verification Act 2012.

The Electronic Identity Verification Regulations 2013 were amended by Order in Council on 23 October 2018 to enable every law firm within the meaning of section 5(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 to use RealMe where the client has a RealMe verified identity.

What is RealMe?

Information on RealMe is available on the RealMe section of the Department of Internal Affairs websites.

Most identity-checking services validate that an identity exists, but don't link that identity to the person claiming it.

RealMe verifies an individual's identity against official government records, then matches that individual against their photo.  Electronic verification removes the need to sight physical evidence of identity and address such as a passport and utility bill or obtain certified copies of such documents.  

This can assist practices to perform customer due diligence when carrying out a captured activity under AML/CFT.  RealMe complies with the Amended Identity Verification Code of Practice (IVCOP) 2013.

How law firms can integrate RealMe into their business

Law firms which wish to take advantage of the RealMe service need to integrate RealMe into their business.

The RealMe website provides information on how to integrate.

Integration involves the secure linking of a law firm to the RealMe service. This is enabled via a technical development integration project. RealMe does not charge to support integration, but the firm bears its own costs or the vendor cost for integrating with them.

RealMe web service

The RealMe web service means that organisations can consume RealMe as a web service via Datacom - who originally developed and now maintain RealMe on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs, which is the responsible government agency.

There are no ongoing licence, maintenance, support or Help Desk fees for using RealMe. However, there is a transaction cost of $8 per assertion (plus GST) when a firm consumes a verified identity. Further details can be obtained from business@realme/govt.nzto.

New Zealand Law Society

Following an amendment to Schedule 1 of the Electronic Identity Verification Regulations 2013, the New Zealand Law Society (within the meaning of section 6 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006) itself is also approved to use RealMe for such matters as the issuing of certificates of character for admission.