Guidance and support
Updated 12 August 2021
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:
- 2a is for barristers (PDF 155 pages, 1.3MB)
- 2b is for Trust or Company Service Providers (PDF 10 pages, 260KB), and should be read alongside our guidance for this group
- 2c is for notaries (PDF 5 pages, 217KB)
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.
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.
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
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:
We have produced regular videos over the years to support our AML work. You can catch up with those videos on our YouTube channel.