Economic Crime Bill: Lord Bellamy supports proportionate regulatory objective

Lord Bellamy’s statement in the House of Lords on 27 June emphasised and agreed with many of our points as the Economic Crime Bill reached report stage.

Our president Lubna Shuja said: “We are pleased Lord Bellamy highlighted how important it is for the objective to be implemented in a targeted and proportionate way, and that regulatory activity should be transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent as well as targeted only on cases where action is required.

“Lord Bellamy’s statement makes clear how Parliament expects the Legal Services Board and the front line regulators – like the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – to interpret the government’s proposed new regulatory objective.*

“There was particular reference to the objective not directly creating any new burden on solicitors, the requirement for any regulatory activity to be appropriately targeted, and not just become a hollow box-ticking exercise.

“The originally proposed definition of the objective was overly broad. It risked diverting compliance resources and activities away from the areas of genuine risk, as well as undermining efforts to tackle economic crime. It is good to see that the concerns raised by the Law Society have been taken on board.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Legal Services Board, the SRA and Ministers on its implementation.”

Notes to editors

* The new regulatory objective focuses on promoting and preventing the detection of economic crime. The changes will affirm the duties of regulators and the regulated communities to uphold the economic crime regime.

Solicitors already adhere to two existing pieces of legislation - The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 which have been amended significantly by the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 and the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, as well as the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022 and the Terrorism Act 2000 – which place requirements on anti-money laundering and reporting suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency.

Lord Bellamy KC is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice. He chaired the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid from 2020-2021. Find out more here.

Read the Law Society’s Anti-Money Laundering page

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