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Suspicious Activity Reporting

10 August 2018

A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is the name of a disclosure made to the National Crime Agency (NCA) under either Part VII of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) or Part III of the Terrorism Act 2000. Failure to make a disclosure when the law requires it may amount to a criminal offence.

When you are acting in the regulated sector (see page 9 and chapter 1 of the Legal Sector AML Guidance) you must make a required disclosure if you know, suspect or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting that a person is engaged in money laundering as prohibited by sections 327, 328 or 329 of POCA. If you are not in the regulated sector you will need to make a required disclosure if you actually know or suspect money laundering is occurring.

You must make a disclosure if you know the identity of the money launderer or the whereabouts of the criminal proceeds or have information that will or may assist in identifying either.

If you have a suspicion that a retainer you are acting in will involve dealing with criminal property, you can make an authorised disclosure to the NCA and seek consent/DAML to undertake further steps in the retainer which would constitute a money laundering offence.

For practical guidance on submitting SARs, read chapters 6 and 9 of the Legal sector AML guidance and our article on making a suspicious activity report.

Quality Suspicious Activity Reports

In spring 2018, the Law Society’s chair of the Money Laundering Task Force, Amy Bell, and UKFIU’s liaison officer, Tony Fitzpatrick, produced a webinar that will help you get your SAR right the first time round. View the webinar:

NCA resources

The NCA offers a range of resources to help you fill in your SAR. The following guidance is available from the NCA website:

Other Law Society resources

For free and confidential advice, call the Law Society’s AML helpline on 02073209544 or email