The New Zealand Law Society has released a Practice Briefing on charging clients for compliance with AML/CFT requirements.
AML/CFT — Charging clients for compliance says the Law Society's view is that the regulatory framework under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 does not prevent lawyers from passing on a genuine compliance cost associated with the provision of regulated services to clients.
"However, lawyers will need to adopt a fair and transparent approach to charging to ensure that regulatory requirements are met and client complaints are avoided."
The Practice Briefing says the definition of legal work in the Act is broad and extends to any work that is incidental to traditional legal work as specifically defined in section 6.
"Work undertaken to complete due diligence and verification for AML/CFT purposes and required to complete a transaction appears to fall within the category of incidental. However, any fee related to compliance work must be fair and reasonable in the particular circumstances."
The Practice Briefing includes a number of practical tips for lawyers who are thinking about passing on compliance costs.