Why So Many Questions?

February 20, 2024 10:17 am - Categorised in:

When you ask your solicitors to act for you there will be a number of questions they need to ask you before they can start work on your file. The number and kind of questions will depend on the type of matter and may, at first sight, seem onerous or even obtrusive. So why do we need to ask them?

Legal practices are highly regulated and are legally obliged to carry out due diligence on all clients before starting work. At a minimum this will involve the following:

Verifying your identity and address. We can do this either in person at one of our offices or via our online system which will check your photo ID and compare it to a live image of yourself via your mobile or computer. We will need to check your address to prove where you live and find out why you want us in particular to act for you.

• For most matters, we then have to run some other checks concerned with Anti-Money Laundering. These will explore third party databases to check for potential money laundering activities such as ensuring that you do not have any financial sanctions imposed against you.

• If we are acting in the purchase of a property or land, we will also need to ask you about the funds you will be supplying – we will need to know not only where the funds currently are, but also how you accumulated those funds. This is often called Source of Funds (where it is) and Source of Wealth (how you got it) and again, can be accomplished either by supplying relevant hard copies of documents or by using our online system.

So why do the regulations say we have to do this?

Our client due diligence is part of the government’s strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in the UK – it is estimated that around £100 billion is laundered in the UK economy each year at a cost to each household of hundreds of pounds. These are funds that are generated through criminal activities such as the drugs trade or people trafficking and, just as we would not wish to support or be involved in these sort of activities, we know that our clients also value the comfort of knowing that we have checks in place to safeguard their position and ensure their financial transaction is secure.

It’s important that all answers you give to your lawyer are factual and honest and help us build an accurate picture of what you want us to do for you and why you have asked us. If we subsequently discover something that is not accurate this could well delay things or even stop the matter continuing so providing the relevant information in good time will enable us to progress work on your matter as quickly as possible.

For further information, please contact Compliance Management Officer, Jon Holt – Jon.Holt@ellis-fermor.co.uk

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About Jon Holt

Jon Holt joined Ellis-Fermor & Negus as our Compliance Management Officer in July 2021 and works with all staff to ensure that we comply with all the legislation and guidelines that enable us to provide legal services to our clients. Most of his working life to date has been in the non-profit sector as an…

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