Is outlining our reporting obligations in client care letters ‘tipping off’?

We’re updating our client care letters and would like to include a paragraph about our anti-money laundering reporting obligations in our terms of business. Would this contravene the ‘tipping off’ provisions?

There would be no contravention of the tipping off provisions to include a paragraph about your obligations under the money laundering legislation in your terms of business.

Read our practice note on client information requirements, which provides the following wording by way of example:

“We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.”

For further information on 'tipping off', see chapters 11 and 16 of the anti-money laundering guidance for the legal sector.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk.

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

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