The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 that came into effect on 15 December have in some ways relaxed the compliance burden solicitors used to be under, and in other ways increased them. Under the old rules, firms adopted a tick box approach, and routinely checked identity when initially instructed and that was more or less the end of the matter.
Under the new risk based approach, it is not always necessary to check identity when first instructed (even though as a matter of good practice, firms may want to continue to do so). However, much stricter identity checking and vetting of clients is required when you are doing “regulated” work, and to have an ongoing program of monitoring clients. An example of non regulated business is litigation. As I understand it under the new Regulations if a client initially instructs a firm on a litigation matter the firm need not do identity and other checks. However, if that client then instructs the firm to set up a new company or to carry out conveyancing work, these being both regulated work, a firm would then need to undertake vetting and checks and continuous monitoring. So, it is important to put in place systems and procedures to ensure appropriate checks are done later even if a client has been known to the firm for years. Does anyone know for sure whether patent or trade mark work is regulated?