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.

The scope of the money laundering regulations

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.

Case studies

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.

Tax advice

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.

Trust and company service provider work

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.

Sectoral Risk Assessment

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.

Firm-wide Risk Assessments

Guidance - Firm risk assessments

Suspicious activity reports

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)

Video guidance

We have produced regular videos over the years to support our AML work. You can catch up with those videos on our YouTube channel.


Compliance Officer Conference 2020: AML – what you need to know

Compliance Officer Conference 2020: AML – practical tips for managing risks

Compliance Officers Conference, 2019, Tackling Money Laundering

Compliance Officers Conference 2019, AML get it right for your firm

LegalEx 2019 – Tackling Money Laundering


May 2020. What your firm needs to know

February 2021 – what tax advisers need to know

March 2021 - what we learnt from law firm visits