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New regime to prevent economic crime prompts new guidance

8 September 2017

A new law to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion has prompted the Law Society of England and Wales to unveil new guidance for solicitors.

From 30 September, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 makes companies and partnerships criminally responsible if they fail to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion by a member of their staff, external agent or other 'associated person', even where the business was not involved in the act or was unaware of it.

The purpose of the Law Society’s practice note is to draw solicitors’ attention to the potential issues raised by the new regime.

Law Society president Joe Egan said: “Solicitors have a significant role to play in ensuring their services are not used to further a criminal purpose. It is crucial for solicitors and their firms to understand this risk and ensure their compliance systems are up to the challenge of the new offence.

“The Law Society and other professional bodies work alongside government, law enforcement and international bodies and regulators to combat bribery, corruption, tax-evasion, money laundering and the financing of international terrorism. We will continue to support our members with this work.”
 

Notes to editors

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Catherine Reed | +44 (0)20 7316 5592

Practice note