Client confidentiality could be undermined by proposed changes to the European money laundering directive, the Law Society has warned. The removal of simplified due diligence provisions for client accounts is among a number of proposals to which the society objects.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has ruled that three Italian lawyers based in London committed a host of accounting irregularities while acting for clients in overseas property deals.
Ten chambers have signed up to the pilot of Barco, the Bar Council’s third-party escrow account that will allow barristers to handle client money. It follows the Financial Services Authority granting regulatory approval for the service under the Payment Services Regulations.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority giving solicitors positive permission to hold client money is one of the options it will consider as part of the review of conveyancing, it has emerged. It has also expressed concern about mortgage lenders using solicitors as an insurance policy against problems.
The Law Society is to investigate giving solicitors the choice of not having a client account as a way to reduce the cost of regulation, it has emerged. Chief executive Des Hudson said the “cost and burden of regulation will have to fall” to enable solicitors to compete.
Our latest round-up of key news includes the SRA and CLC offering relief to solicitors in breach because of RBS/NatWest computer problems, £1m of government money for legal apprenticeships, a destination for dormant client money, the Co-op’s new will-writing partnership, and much more.
Law firms need to establish policies on whistleblowing and the interest they pay to clients, according to a leading regulatory solicitor. Other key issues troubling firms include preparing a business plan and compliance with provisions on outsourcing.
The form that allows law firms to nominate their compliance officers for legal practice and for finance and administration should go live in the next six weeks, the Solicitors Regulation Authority said yesterday, while also revealing some of the information it will require about them.
Lisa Dixon from the Institute of Legal Finance & Management argues that firms should consider issuing separate terms and conditions with their client-care letters that deal specifically with the issues around client funds.
A record number of solicitors have been either struck off or suspended, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has revealed. However, the number of solicitors appearing before the tribunal has dropped sharply, possibly because of the SRA’s new powers to issue sanctions itself.