Essential Know How: Legal Professional Privilege Vs Regulatory Investigations
In advance of our upcoming webinar (Legal Professional Privilege – what you need to know – register for free on Lexology here), Jeremy Phillips QC and Mark O’Brien O’Reilly take us back to basics on this important topic for solicitors.
This post gives a broad overview of the concept of legal privilege, how it differs to the duty of confidentiality, and in what circumstances it can be overridden.
Is it time to update your compliance plan?
Lexcel Consultant Samantha Bray goes into depth on law firm compliance plans.
2011 was a shock to the system for solicitors. Remember when the SRA got rid of those nice, clear rules in favour of ‘outcomes’?
And suddenly, those new compliance officer roles (COLP and COFA) put individuals within law firms firmly on the hook?
It was a huge upheaval, and many firms struggled to get to grips with the new form of regulation.
Principles-based regulation has been with us for over a decade, and is now in its second iteration (‘Standards and Regulations’). We should all be experts at this point!
One of the first things law firms were encouraged to do under outcomes-focused regulation was draft a compliance plan. This important document sets out how the firm tries its best to comply with the various rules/outcomes.
Perhaps more importantly, the law firm compliance plan is:
- a fundamental part of getting your house in order – the process forces you to critically think about proportionate systems and controls
- an accessible document for others in the team – ‘this is how we do it’
- your evidence, should it ever be needed, that your have been through the process
Most law firms grappled with the compliance plan back then. But it’s fair to say that a good proportion have not re-run the exercise since.
With summer fast approaching, could this be your next compliance project?
SRA AML questionnaire – are you ready to answer these 13 questions?
Law firms subject to the Money Laundering Regulations will shortly be required to submit an SRA AML questionnaire.
The COLP will receive a link to complete the questionnaire in June, with a deadline of 31 July 2022.
Do not assume that the Money Laundering Compliance Officer or MLRO will also receive the link.
The purpose of the questionnaire is to feed risk information to the regulator. They want know which firms pose a higher risk for money laundering. The implication is that higher risk firms will receive closer supervision – for example, targeted visits and audits.
Since some of these questions require an element of data collection, you should start compiling your responses now. Late or non-existent filings could be an indicator of a firm without a good grip on AML compliance.
News and Guidance
Law Society Updates
- Press release – Evidence lacking for new SRA health and wellbeing rules
- Tools – Price and service transparency – how you can comply
- News – Law firms required to provide data under new AML requirements
- Risk outlook report – Information security and cybercrime in a new normal
- Legal Futures – Oversight regulator “very concerned” about ethics of commercial lawyers
- Gazette – Legal regulators pledge to stamp out non-inclusive misconduct
- Legal Ombudsman – Personal injury complaints thematic report
Next session: Legal Professional Privilege (15 June at 12pm)
Our next live webinar will be very special. We are going to be joined by Jeremy Phillips QC to talk about the thorny issue of legal privilege.
The compliance world is sometimes guilty of glossing over the importance of privilege. For example, the interplay between reporting suspicious activity under AML legislation and LPP. The Proceeds of Crime Act expressly protects privileged circumstances, but the solicitor needs to be confident that it applies.
Join us live on 15 June 2o22 at 12pm on Zoom.
Places are strictly limited.
Register here – After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Recording: Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) – what you need to know
Last month’s live webinar covered the changes to solicitor qualification brought in last year.
The session covered:
- why has the process of qualification changed?
- what does the process look like now?
- how do individuals apply?
- what do firms need to do?
- what should you look out for?
You can find the slides here.
The Zoom recording is here (password: 6=yL#Y+?)
- Jonathan Brinsden – fined £2,000 for allowing the client account to be used by charitable trust clients as a banking facility
- Ciaran Leeman – non-lawyer (“office supervisor”) struck off for fabricating 26 staff induction forms and misleading his employer
- Hashok Parmar – jailed solicitor unsurprisingly struck off for property fraud
- Robyn Lynch – fined £15,000 for using the firm’s client account as a banking facility, effectively running her family finances through the firm over the course of almost 20 years