In the future, some in-house lawyers who offer advice to the public may not be able to do so unless the bodies they are employed by become special bodies.
Following our alert on this issue in August 2012, firms from around the world have been sharing further variations on this scam against lawyers.
The NCA has issued an updated warning about the vulnerability of law firms to advanced fee fraud.
Some lenders are rationalising their panels on an individual basis, others on a stricter criteria based on size or volume of work.
In response to the crime VHCC fee cuts scheduled for implementation on 2 December, barristers may seek to invoke the termination clauses in the standard LAA contracts where they are incorporated into their individual agreements with solicitors.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has announced important amendments to the handbook, which will come into force on 1 December 2014.
AML Policy Officer Scott Devine provides an update on policy issues of note including the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive and the outcomes of the recent Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Private Sector Consultative Forum held in Brussels.
The Solicitor's Regulation Authority's (SRA) Handbook contains the authorisation requirements for those wishing to enter the profession, firms who wish to be regulated by the SRA and those wishing to hold a regulated role
Money laundering reporting officers (MLROs) have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that a firm is compliant with anti-money laundering obligations.
Rules regarding fixtures and chattels
The case of Armstrong DLW GMBH v Winnington Networks Ltd looks at who bears the loss when poor due diligence results in the trading of stolen carbon credits.
A new protocol designed to bring clarity to probate-related dealings between advisers and banks has been agreed.
Many high street firms who deal with UK-based clients could be forgiven for thinking that this act is of no relevance to their firm. However, conduct much closer to home is also under the spotlight.
From 1 July, businesses may apply to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to challenge land use restrictions that limit competition against major supermarkets
When the new Land Registration Fee Order comes into force on Monday 17 March 2014, some Land Registry fees will be about 50 per cent lower if you submit the application online.
In this case, the House of Lords confirmed that the receiver's fees are to be paid out of the assets held in the receivership, whether the accused launderer is acquitted, not proceeded against or the receivership is successfully discharged.
An action plan that outlines steps to help address barriers to the profession
Results of several Law Society studies in order to understand the issues and barriers faced by some groups within the legal sector.
From 1 October 2014, the NCA will reject consent requests that do not include reasons for suspicion or a statement regarding criminal property.
From 30 June, Land Registry will scan, then destroy, original documents and certified copies that accompany applications to change the register.
The Charity law bulletin is the Law Society's charity law update for legal professionals
The Council of Mortgage Lenders will publish an amendment to their Handbook regarding the introduction of the Green Deal on Monday 8 July 2013.
The Law Society code for completion by post provides a procedure for postal completion of house sales which may be adopted by reference.
A code for promoting fairness in commercial leases
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires regulated practices to collect, report and publish data on the diversity of their workforce. Find out how the Law Society that can help you to fulfil your obligations.
On 6 April 2014, a new set of rules relating to the recovery of rental arrears by seizing tenants' goods came into force.
The High Court has ruled that the government's decision to abolish lawyers' fees for committal proceedings was lawful.
In order to prevent and resolve complaints it is important to understand what generates them. The Legal Ombudsman has published data on the type of complaints they receive.
Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of COLPs and COFAs.
All recognised and licensed bodies must nominate a compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) and a compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA), who will start to fulfil their responsibilities from 31 October 2012.
The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 states that clients who do not meet the regulated professional in person pose a higher risk of money laundering.
Updated version of the form to be used for the release of Health Records under the Data Protection Act 1998.
The Law Society has published FAQs providing useful information to solicitors for moving across and complying with the new SRA scheme for continuing competence.
The Law Society Conveyancing Protocol sets out the Society's preferred practice in residential conveyancing transactions of freehold and leasehold property
The Court of Appeal has decided that the Legal Services Commission (LSC) was wrong to refuse to pay in full for an expert witness report ordered for a child by the family court.
This case will interest practitioners advising on alleged terrorist financing
Details on how to report problems with using digital equipment in courts or prisons.
Advice on interim payments.
The deadline for submitting tender applications is Tuesday 5 May. Read our latest advice and download a template for delivery partnership agreements.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision in R v Geary and provided further clarification on what constitutes an arrangement for the purposes of section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The basics of data protection and anti-money laundering
The Court of Appeal upheld four convictions for conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, namely profits from drug trafficking
Amy Bell, Head of Risk and Compliance at QualitySolicitors, provides advice on what to do when you are dealing with an unrepresented party in a transaction.
Read our comprehensive guidance and listen to our podcast on how to identify a deprivation of liberty.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has confirmed that solicitors can use dictaphones in court buildings if they alert the court security officer, but dictaphones and mobile phones must not be used in a court room.
Whatever the future of legal aid, digital working is the future for the criminal justice system.
This short report investigates the connection between social mobility and inequality.
This short report highlights the diversity profile of solicitors.
The Green Deal is set to become part of the conveyancing process where the property being sold has a deal in place.
The Law Society has drafted some additional guidance on the crime duty tender in response to a number of questions raised by members.
We have drafted a model retainer letter which you may wish to consider when engaging a professionial indemnity insurance broker.
Equivalence is relevant for those in the regulated sector looking to rely on other regulated persons for client due diligence checks, or for taking advantage of simplified due diligence provisions
CMS Cameron McKenna uses information about equality and diversity policies and practices when evaluating competitive tenders
There is a growing and increasingly competitive market in 'compliance solutions' designed for the legal profession
We have recently had a discussion with officials at the Ministry of Justice about the issues arising from the new experts' fee rates.
Details of the assigned risks pool, a safety net for firms who cannot get qualifying insurance
The IRS has stated that registration applications need to be received by 22 December 2014 in order to be included on the 1 January 2015 FFI list.
HMRC has released the final version of its annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) return.
The government runs a number of finance schemes that may benefit law firms. If you are looking to take out or extend a loan or for new sources of funding as an alternative business structure there are several schemes aimed at helping firms.
The case of Fitzpatrick and Others v Metropolitan Police looks at what constitutes entering into an arrangement and considers the factors that police take into account before searching a solicitors' office or arresting a solicitor.
Satnam Tumani of Kirkland & Ellis examines the High Court's decision in Fletcher v Leicestershire Constabulary.
The Law Society library maintains an index of enquiries called Common Queries Database. These include results from enquiries to find forms, precedents and guidance.
The European Commission has released its proposals for a fourth money laundering directive.
Anti-money laundering policy officer Scott Devine provides a brief insight into the Fourth Directive as the legislative process enters its final stages.
AML policy officer Scott Devine provides an update on the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is posting updates on its website about bogus law firms and email addresses that have been brought to its attention.
Helen Quinn from the Law Society's Practice Advice Service sets out some commonly-raised AML queries.
Information for authorised firms and licensed bodies required to appoint compliance officers for legal practice and financial affairs
Our FAQs have been compiled to help solicitors to better understand the complex area of professional indemnity insurance.
On 27 March the Law Society published its draft model conditional fee agreement (CFA), to be used to assist members of the profession in their work for clients on matters funded (or considered to be funded) on such a basis.
The general anti-abuse rule (GAAR) that came into force on 17 July 2013 applies to stamp duty land tax as well as other taxes.
We urge firms not to delay getting ready for the 2014 renewal period and to start preparing their proposals.
The DECC has issued guidance for the property industry, including solicitors and licensed conveyancers, about the legal requirements in relation to properties with a Green Deal.
The Law Society has issued guidance to help criminal legal aid solicitors cope with the cuts and dramatic market changes announced by the Ministry of Justice in February.
This advice is designed to raise solicitors' awareness of the importance of considering whether their insurer will be able to meet claims under their professional indemnity insurance (PII) policy.
Potential criminal sanctions for breaches of money laundering obligations can be seen as a useful headline to keep the attention of partners and fee earners in training.
There are significant criminal penalties under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and t he responsibility falls on your shoulders. So how can you feel comfortable in your new role?
We look at what a money laundering reporting officer needs to consider before deciding that there are grounds to make a report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Resources available to you, tips on how to manage fee earners' and management's expectations, and help you avoid some of the common pitfalls for newcomers
Alison Matthews, former Chair of the Money Laundering Task Force and formerly money laundering reporting officer (MLRO) at Irwin Mitchell LLP considers the challenges of making your first SAR.
In this month's feature, we look at how money laundering reporting officers (MLROs) can develop effective relationships with their legal practice's accounts team.
Many MLROs still find the verification of source of funds a contentious area, with fee earners and partners often making a number of incorrect assumptions about their obligations.
Enhanced due diligence should be applied in any situation that may present a higher risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.
HM Treasury has invited firms in the regulated sector to contribute to the UK government's 'National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing' exercise (NRA).
With effect from 4 August 2014, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) changed, without notice, its stated position on the treatment of commercial loans to UK resident and non-domiciled individuals.
HM Revenue and Customs is giving solicitors the chance to bring their tax affairs up to date on the best terms possible.
HMRC's online services will close at 06:00 on Friday 11 October 2013 and re-open at 06:00 on Monday 14 October 2013.
HM Revenue and Customs has released new guidance on the stamp duty land tax rules for pre-completion transactions.
HMRC is reviewing the extent to which law firms can act as insurance intermediaries for the purpose of applying the VAT exemption.
Information to help you find a professional indemnity insurance broker for the 2011/2 renewal period.
The Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) has released a typology report looking at the crimes of organised maritime piracy and related kidnapping for ransom.
We are now calling on the profession to follow the Law Society's lead in challenging HSBC's panel policy.
Latvian insurer Balva's license has been suspended as a result of regulatory 'deficiencies'.
Apro Management Limited, the manager of Berliner, has written to firms advising that it is uncertain whether that insurer will be able to write any solicitors' business in the 2013-14 renewal.
The Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority announced that it has withdrawn the operating licence issued to the European Risk Insurance Company (ERIC).
Solicitors with Quinn run-off policies can continue to notify claims via the claims notification procedure set out in their policy.
The Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act 2014 came into force on 1 October 2014. Read our summary of the changes.
The Court of Appeal considered whether the movement of fees from the client account to the office account would be a breach of a criminal restraint order
Diane Latter, property policy advisor at the Law Society, discusses the new practice note on joint ownership.
The FSA have expressed concern about the rise in land banking schemes which are leaving investors out of pocket and in possession of land that has little or no chance of ever being built on.
Land Registry will be implementing practice changes to help prevent restrictions on leasehold registered titles creating problems.
Land Registry will treat simple and complex postponements in the same way and accept either a letter or deed when a charge is registered.
From 7 September the Land Registry has changed the documents it requires when a customer applies to register a first registration.
Following royal assent of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill, the Legal Services Commission has published a list of FAQs about the legal aid changes, which will be implemented on 1 April 2013.
Unlike previous Help To Buy schemes, conveyancing solicitors will have a direct role in obtaining bonus funds from the government.
Advance fee fraudsters and sham litigants continue to prey on law firms. Understand their approach and how to protect your firm.
Criminals are seeking to exploit the litigation, as legal advice and litigation are not covered by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
Details of the Law Society interest rate as referred to in the Standard Conditions of Sale.
List of consultants for supporting tender submissions and appeals.
Steps are being taken to try and minimise the potential disruption caused to firms in their bidding arrangements.
The Law Society provides further guidance to firms with claims outstanding on policies with insolvent insurer, Lemma.
Advice for solicitors or former solicitors who were principals in a firm that ceased to practise whilst being insured with Lemma Europe.
Advice for panel firms being asked by lenders for details of client accounts, professional indemnity insurers and copies of letterheads.
Information on applying for Lexcel, the Law Society's legal practice quality mark.
Legal organisations have drafted guidelines for lawyers who come up against ordinary people who find themselves in court without legal representation.
See our short video explaining the changes.
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has outlined its key milestones and activities for 2013.
Read our update on the options and implications for practitioners following the Henthorn and Loomba appeal cases.
Whether you are making your first suspicious activity report (SAR) or you 100th, providing the correct information will ensure that it is processed quickly and can be used most effectively.
Details of the online system providing instant Buildmark cover information.
A comprehensive framework for people who need to manage a bank or building society account on behalf of someone else.
This article considers the issues in more detail and aims to provide some clarity for family lawyers in what is still an extremely difficult area of law.
The appeal concerned two separate cases that both raised similar confiscation issues under POCA.
A recent High Court decision provides helpful guidance to firms about what constitutes a valid notification of a circumstance under the solicitors’ minimum terms and conditions PII policy.
The LAA has set up a system to help means applications for particularly vulnerable clients.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence has recently launched a new directory of Mental Capacity Act resources.
Alison Matthews reviews the decision of the ECJ in Michaud v France on whether the application of the anti-money laundering reporting requirements to lawyers are consistent with the right to privacy.
Second edition of the Law Society model planning agreement.
The Scottish Court of Appeal has ruled that property will be considered criminal property under POCA if the evidence of how it is handled 'gives rise to the irresistible inference' that it could only have been the product of crime.
It is possible that solicitors could be unwittingly involved in assisting immigration fraud and associated money laundering.
In 2002 and again in 2004 the Law Society's Money Laundering Taskforce warned criminal defence solicitors not to accept bail security monies into their client accounts due to the risk of money laundering
Whether you are a fee earner or a money laundering reporting officer (MLRO), recognising a money laundering sign when it walks through your office door is a continual challenge.
Asking yourself and your client this question is one of the most effective measures you can take to protect yourself from money laundering.
With media reports suggesting that the housing market may slowly be picking up and banks becoming willing to lend a little bit more, do solicitors still need to be on their guard for mortgage fraud?
These guidelines provide solicitors with advice on how to complete a National Crime Agency (NCA) consent request.
The Ministry of Justice published the 65th amendment to the civil procedure rules (CPR) on 12 July.
The Law Society has recently launched a range of nine new forms designed to help legal practices comply with their obligations.
The International Bar Association, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe and the American Bar Association have jointly issued a new guidance report on anti-money laundering.
Land Registry has published a new practice guide setting out the requirements for statements of truth used in support of Land Registry applications
From 1 April new rules on conditional fee agreements (CFAs) come into force. We have published a new model CFA and interim advice for use in personal injury claims.
The Mortgage Market Review (MMR) rules come into force on 26 April 2014.
New rules on permitted development allow larger extensions to be made without planning applications and enable change of use from office to residential.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued advice for those submitting SDLT1 returns
From 2 July 2012, a new version of the Land Transaction Return guidance notes (SDLT6) will come into effect.
Failure to comply with court rules on CPR is now likely to result in very serious consequences for solicitors and their clients.
How the new regulatory regime approaches conveyancing transactions
Read our summary of the changes to the contracts.
Satnam Tumani examines the Court of Appeal's decision in Pace & Anor v R.
A new offence of participation in organised crime groups' criminal activities aims to tackle those who currently benefit from criminality with little risk of being prosecuted.
The Court of Appeal held that 'conformity to a common (or even universal) professional practice is not an automatic defence against liability.
The Law Society is warning firms to be vigilant after it was discovered solicitors were receiving scam (phishing) emails from an account claiming to be the Law Society.
The SRA Board are seeking approval to reduce the mandatory minimum level of compulsory cover to £500,000. We have raised concerns about the haste of the reforms and the absence of supporting evidence.
This calculator is designed to assist solicitors to work out an indicative figure that should be saved each year as part of their retirement planning to prepare for the likely cost of run-off cover under their minimum terms and conditions (MTC) polic
To counter the risk posed to the UK's regulated sector from laundering foreign funds, firms must conduct enhanced due diligence on politically exposed persons (PEPs).
Nick Milner from the Law Society's Practice Advice Service sets out some commonly-raised AML queries.
Richard Miller, Law Society head of legal aid, summarises some key messages from our legal aid roadshows.
With cuts in legal aid, criminal law practitioners are increasingly finding that clients have to find ways to pay for representation through private funds.
The proposed high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands (commonly referred to as 'HS2') has implications for practitioners working in residential conveyancing and commercial property.
Summary of R v Bradley David Rogers and others  EWCA Crim 1680
The Court of Appeal has decided that a conviction for money laundering against one defendant can stand, even when another defendant was acquitted for the substantive offence which had been said to generate the proceeds of crime to be laundered.
Entering into an arrangement to create criminal property does not amount to an offence under s.328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)
The High Court in R v Hogan  EWHC (Admin) 978 had to consider the defence of adequate consideration to a section 329 POCA 2002 offence.
The Court of Criminal Appeal has issued a series of judgements clarifying the application of money laundering offences in mortgage fraud cases.
In R v Saik , the House of Lords considered the law of conspiracy with respect to the offence of money laundering, particularly where individuals suspected, rather than knew that the funds involved in a transaction were the proceeds of crime.
The Supreme Court looks at whether a person can still face confiscation proceedings even if they were given a conditional discharge for the underlying offence.
The Supreme Court held that in order to comply with A1P1 and s3(1) Human Rights Act 1998, Crown Court should not make disproportionate orders given the circumstances of an individual case.
A solicitor was cleared of six counts of money laundering in January of this year, after a judge ruled that a fair trial was impossible due to delays in bringing the prosecution.
The Law Society is recommending that providers of training contracts should pay their trainees £20,276 in London and £18,183 outside of London.
These flowcharts are an easy reference guide to the outcomes and IBs on acting for buyer and seller and lender and borrower, which are outlined in chapter 3 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011
From 4 July 2011, the new SDLT1, SDLT3 and SDLT4 forms must be used and a unique identifier for the lead purchaser supplied to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
Increasingly, law enforcement agencies in England and Wales are seeking to use their powers to recover ill-gotten gains from criminals. At times this may mean that they will seek access to files held by solicitors.
The Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) has issued guidance to resident judges on the approach they should take in cases where members of the criminal bar are declining to accept returns of defence work.
The Law Commission's recent report, Rights to Light (2014) Law Com No 356, with accompanying draft legislation, contains recommendations that will improve the law relating to rights to light.
In Rowe v R  EWCA Crim 635, a full bench of the Criminal Court of Appeal has clarified several issues over offences involving preparation for terrorist activities
Details and information about run-off cover
A number of categories of law will be coming out of scope of legal aid contracts in April 2013. Our article looks at the implications under professional rules of taking on cases now that are going out of scope next April.
The UK government imposes financial restrictions on persons and entities as part of its domestic counter-terrorism regime, as well as those persons proscribed by the United Nations and/or European Union.
You complete your client due diligence, exchange contracts and proceed to completion, but for some reason the bank holds up the transfer. Is there something you missed?
SOCA is concerned that firms are submitting a SAR for clients who simply have a similar name to someone on the sanctions list when they only need to seek permission from the Asset Freezing Unit.
Peter Rodd, senior partner, member of the CQS technical panel and chair of the Property Section, discuses how overheads can be reduced by embracing email.
From 1 October 2014, if you file an SDLT return on paper you must enter a valid local authority code.
With law firms under increasing pressure to minimise the exposure to risk for themselves and their clients, the argument for more detailed search due diligence is becoming ever more compelling, writes Paul Addison.
Jonathan Smithers, member of the CQS technical panel and chair of the Land Law and Conveyancing Committee discusses separate representation.
Common questions about alternative business structures, including who can become an ABS and details of the application process
The High Court has issued a decision dismissing civil claims from clients as a result of complying with reporting obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The act has brought in new transparency provisions, regulation of employment law, and amendments to the Companies Act 2006.
An overview of the sections and chapters in the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2011
In many ways, client identification and verification is secondary in anti-money laundering compliance to understanding the source of funds and the purpose of a retainer.
International arbitration provides a very tempting proposition for organised criminals seeking an apparently legitimate cover for moving large amounts of criminally obtained money from one jurisdiction to another.
Details of the SRA Handbook, which replaces the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007 and underpins the regulation of solicitors, law firms and alternative business structures
Approved certificate of title agreed between the Law Society and the Council of Mortgage Lenders to be used from 30 November 2015.
The SRA has issued a warning notice to anyone involved in the promotion or facilitation of schemes to avoid or reduce stamp duty land tax (SDLT)
A summary of the numerous reporting requirements on firms in the SRA's Handbook.
Calculators to help you work out stamp duty land tax payable on sale and transfers of land or property
Disadvantaged Area Relief is is being abolished for transactions with an effective date on or after 6 April 2013.
The contract incorporating the Standard Conditions of Sale (5th edition) is designed for use in residential conveyancing transactions.
Forms used in residential conveyancing and details of suppliers.
We have published explanatory notes to help sellers and buyers understand the information that is being requested in the TA6 property information form.
HMRC wants to change tax rules surrounding compensation amounts over £1 million. We are liaising with HMRC in order to achieve the best possible outcome for members.
The Law Society has prepared potential remedies for criminal firms should they be unsuccessful in relation to all or part of their duty provider tender.
Richard Miller, Law Society head of legal aid, looks at some of the key questions that firms will need to consider, following royal assent of the controversial Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
FATCA is US legislation aimed at reducing tax evasion by their citizens. It requires financial institutions outside the US to pass information about their American customers to the US tax authorities, the Internal Revenue Service.
It might be 2014, but we're still hearing of firsts for women taking up roles in the legal profession.
Are there hidden dangers in opting for 'cheaper' quotations? Read Law Society advice on choosing an insurer.
Philip Santo, a chartered surveyor and director of Philip Santo & Co, considers some implications of the recent rush to install solar panels on the roofs of the nation's houses.
The Public Law Project (PLP), with help from the Law Society, is running a project to assist litigants with making exceptional funding applications and challenging refusals of exceptional funding where appropriate.
Key facts about the regulatory regime in England and Wales.
The basics when it comes to a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering
The Solicitor's Regulation Authority's (SRA) Handbook outlines ten mandatory principles which apply to everyone that the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice.
As soon as the proceeds of crime become an issue, solicitors have to think carefully about what they can tell their clients. These scenarios aim to help you understand the issues around 'tipping off'.
Here is a selection of typical questions and answers on the sometimes terrifying topic of tipping off compiled by the Practice Advice Service at the Law Society.
Jo Riddick, Macfarlanes LLP’s compliance officer for legal practice and money laundering reporting officer, considers the potential impact of a register for beneficial owners of trusts.
The decision in Royal Bank of Scotland v. Etridge on 11th October 2001 means all conveyancing lawyers should consider carefully their procedures when a third party provides security for another person's borrowing.
The Law Society has updated its advice for firms on compliance with UK regulations which transpose the EU ADR Directive.
Stephen Jewell, of HM Revenue and Customs, explains the importance of quoting the correct reference number and bank details when paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
Firms will be able to choose their own renewal dates for their professional indemnity insurance as of 1 October 2013. This is now set out in the SRA's Participating Insurers Agreement 2013.
Solicitors' firms have reported the receipt of email messages that purport to be from Solicitors from Hell.net.
After the public spat between the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority at the beginning of the month, peace seems to have broken out.
The practice framework rules allow in-house lawyers to act for clients other than employers in certain circumstances. Depending on the circumstances you may need to have professional indemnity insurance (PII) in place.
If you would not accept a bag full of cash from a client with respect to a transaction, why is it acceptable to provide them with your client account details so that they can deposit it there themselves?
When looking at money laundering warning signs, an instruction that is unusual for your firm is high on the list and should ring alarm bells.
The case involved an application by the Attorney General of Zambia against the ex-president of Zambia, other former Zambian officials and two UK law firms for the return of public monies
Acas has published a new discussion paper on zero hours contracts, following latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The Practice Advice Service provides a dedicated support line for Law Society members and employees of law firms. Call us on 020 7320 5675.
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