Guidance and support

Legal Services Affinity Group guidance

The Legal Services Affinity Group (LSAG) is made up of both regulatory and representative bodies for legal services in the UK. It has produced guidance on the anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, which for firms supervised by the SRA for AML now constitutes official guidance. It is still subject to HM Treasury approval. Read the guidance, which is subject to change, Legal Sector Affinity Group Anti-Money Laundering Guidance for the Legal Sector 2021 (PDF 212 pages, 2.2MB)

Summary guidance of the 10 January 2020 changes to the regulations (PDF 5 pages, 197KB) has also been produced to help firms comply with the updated requirements.

Part 2 of LSAG's guidance is divided into sections for specific areas of legal practice:

2b and 2c need to be read alongside the main Part 1 AML guidance, and 2a will not be relevant for firms we supervise.

These Part 2 sections are intended to provide supplementary information which will help those working in specific areas.

We have also produced guidance to help with issues during lockdown to help you remain compliant despite the challenges of social distancing.

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This guidance explains which activities fall under the scope of the money laundering regulations. If you provide these activities, you will need to be in compliance with the broader regulations.

We have produced case studies that help show you how to stay compliant with the regulations as you go about your day-to-day business.

The 2020 amendments to the regulations change the definition of tax advice activities. Your firm might be now in scope of the regulations and you should take steps accordingly. We have produced guidance to help you determine your position.

We have produced specific guidance for Trust and Company Service Providers (TCSPs). This is because the process for approvals for TCSPs is different to other areas of work, and because it is at a relatively higher risk of money laundering generally.

Our Sectoral Risk Assessment is our view of the dangers and issues facing law firms when keeping the proceeds of crime out of the legal profession. It draws on the Government's National Risk Assessment and our experiences as a supervisor and applies this to legal services. Individual firms must take this assessment into account when producing their own firm-wide risk assessment.

This guidance helps you assess all risks for your firm when it comes to preventing money laundering, including a template to use to create what is a key document in keeping money launderers out of the profession.

Guidance - Firm risk assessments

If you have a suspicion that your firm is being used to launder money, your Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) must submit a suspicious activity report (SAR) to the National Crime Agency (NCA). It’s important that everyone understands their responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Terrorism Act 2000 and their firm’s processes.

The NCA have expressed concerns about the number and quality of SARs being submitted by law firms, and have produced guidance to help you, including:

SARs Regime Good practice (PDF 15 pages, 238KB)  

Guidance on submitting better quality SARS (PDF 23 pages, 397KB)

The correct glossary codes for reporting (PDF 25 page, 522KB)