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  6. How should I respond to a police request for a conveyancing file?

How should I respond to a police request for a conveyancing file?

Two years ago, I acted for a client in the purchase of a property. I have now been contacted by the police, who have asked for the conveyancing file. How I should deal with this request?

We have issued a practice note to offer solicitors practical advice on balancing their obligations of confidentiality with their obligations to comply with court orders and notices from law enforcement agencies investigating suspected financial crime.

It provides an overview on the main powers available to law enforcement when conducting financial crime investigations.

Under Outcome 4.1 of the SRA Code of Conduct, you must not volunteer information about a client. However, you must provide information where you are required to do so by law or a court order.

Please be aware that such statutory authority or court order is only likely to override confidentiality, it will not override legal professional privilege.

If you are approached by a law enforcement agency for information about a client or transaction they are investigating, you must ask if you can either:

- seek the client's consent to provide the information requested (as the client can waive confidentiality and privilege), or

- be served with a notice or order requiring disclosure.

For further information, please see the Law Society’s practice note on responding to a financial crime investigation.

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.

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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