On the 10th January 2020, the 5th Money Laundering Directive was transposed into UK Law through amendments to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. New Guidance which is intended to summarise the key changes has been produced, for legal professionals that are in scope. It is not exhaustive and should be read in the context of the amended legislation. This guidance, which has been agreed by all members of the Legal Sector Affinity Group is interim and has not been formally approved by HM Treasury. Information contained in this document will be incorporated into full revised guidance, to be released as soon as possible.
You will be aware that the new Notaries Practice Rules 2019 which were made on 3rd September came into force on the 2nd December this year. These bring in changes designed to provide enhanced transparency around costs, services and redress/complaints information following the recommendations made by the CMA in their report on competition in the legal sector in late 2016. The Rules set out the information which must now be given to clients at the outset of a matter and information which must appear on any website which you operate in relation to:
- the basis upon which you calculate the fees for your services (price information);
- a brief outline of the services which you provide (both reserved legal activities and other legal activities) setting out the key stages of the work (if more than one) and the normal timescales for each key stage (service information);
- the level of insurance which your carry under your professional indemnity policy (redress information);
- confirmation that you are covered by a formal complaints procedure in the event that a client is dissatisfied with the service provided and an explanation of how to make such a complaint (complaint information); and
- confirmation that you are ‘Regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury’ (regulatory information).
Early in the new year, we will be undertaking a review of websites to ensure that they comply with the new rules and will write to individuals where there is non-compliance giving a further period to make the required changes. The inspectors will also be ensuring compliance with the new Rules as part of the 2020 inspection round. The CMA has indicated that it will be undertaking a review of the progress which the Legal Sector have made against its recommendations in the second half of 2020.
You also need to be aware that on 10th January 2020 the 5th Money Laundering Directive is due to be transposed into UK Law and we anticipate revised Money Laundering Regulations and Legal Sector Guidance. A guide to the key changes will be issued as soon as possible. In the meantime, please stay alert to news on the implementation of the 5th Money Laundering Directive. The Directive can be accessed here.
Finally, the Legal Services Board has recently completed the latest round of its Regulatory Performance reporting which measures the Approved Regulators’ progress against 26 individual measures under five categories. The latest report, published today, can be accessed here. We are pleased to note that the assessment continues to show that the Faculty Office is making progress against the various measures and we will be taking steps early in the new year to address the shortcomings identified where the LSB feel that we are not making sufficiently rapid changes, particularly around the transparency of our regulatory decision making.
It only remains for me to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
With kind regards
Office of the Court of Faculties
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The Ministry of Justice has published a ‘toolkit’ for the legal services sector, as part of the Government’s “Get Ready” campaign which aims to provide business with the information it needs to take action to prepare for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. A copy of the ‘Get Ready’ Toolkit for lawyers is available here: MoJ Get Ready Toolkit
Price Transparency Briefing Note
Note 3 deals with the new practice rules on price and service transparency which come into force on 2 December.
If you are thinking about qualifying as a Notary Public and what to find out more about the course, University College London (UCL) are holding a Notarial Practice Course Open Day on Saturday 30th November 2019 between 10.45am and 4.15pm at the UCL Faculty of Laws.
The cost of the day is £60 which includes lunch. To find out more and register please visit https://notarial-practice-open-day-2019.eventbrite.co.uk or contact Lisa Penfold by email email@example.com
Note 2 is on Anti-money Laundering.
We are launching a series of Guidance Notes on the Code of Practice offering guidance on notarial practice based on the feedback from the Notary Inspections. Note 1 (link below) is on record keeping and file storage.
Whistle Blowing Policy
The Faculty Office has updated and published its whistle blowing policy which may be viewed here: Whistle Blowing Policy.
Anti-Money Laundering Guidance for the Legal Sector
The AML Legal Supervisors have agreed Legal Sector Anti-Money Laundering Guidance: Approved AML Guidance taking account of the changes introduced by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/692/made) which came into force on 26 June 2017. The revised guidance has now received formal approval by HM Treasury following some minor changes to the draft which was published in September 2017.