What do we need to include in our policy on handling cash?

We limit the amount that we’re willing to accept from clients in cash at the office. However, giving out bank details carries the risk of cash being paid directly into our account. How can we deal with this risk?

Section 5.16.2 of the anti-money laundering guidance for the legal sector advises as follows on establishing a policy on handling cash:

“Avoid disclosing your client account details until you are ready to accept a payment/transfer and discourage clients from passing the details on to third parties.

Ask them to use the account details only for previously agreed purposes.

Prohibit or restrict cash payments. Large payments or a series of smaller payments made in actual cash may be a sign of money laundering.

You should consider establishing a policy of never accepting cash payments. If this is unavoidable, you should set a limit above which you will not accept cash payments.

Clients may attempt to circumvent such a policy by depositing cash directly into your client account at a bank.

You may consider advising clients in such circumstances that they might encounter a delay in completion of the final matter or in the return of their funds.

If a cash deposit is received without solicitation, you should consider making a disclosure to the NCA.”

Check our guidance on common money laundering warning signs

Find out how to make a suspicious activity report


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.

Have you got a practice question?

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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