why do I need to provide ID

Why do I need to provide ID?

We are often asked why it is necessary to prove who you are and where you live when we are instructed to undertake work on your behalf.

Of course, most of our clients wouldn’t dream of doing anything illegal, but law firms are key targets these days for a minority of individuals who try to launder money through our accounts, in an attempt turn it into legitimate income.

It is estimated that up to £57 billion is laundered through the UK each year, and even if only 1% of this amount were to go through law firms, it would still equate to hundreds of millions of pounds. To combat criminals using our services to launder money and to protect you from those who might try to use your identity without your knowledge, the government have introduced new anti-money laundering regulations, which make it more difficult for criminals to make and keep money from crimes. As a result, we need to be absolutely certain who we are acting for and why the transaction is necessary.

For this reason, there are now compulsory checks in place which solicitors must make. Being asked for identification, justification for the transaction or evidence as to where the money has come from, doesn’t mean that you are under suspicion. These identification requirements apply to all clients when they are asking their solicitor to conduct certain types of cases.

Failure to comply with the regulations can lead to us facing criminal charges, so we must take the issue of compliance very seriously by having procedures in place to protect us from money laundering risks. Therefore, you will be asked to provide to your solicitor, or someone acting on their behalf, personal documents which include:

• Photographic ID such as a  current signed passport or photo card driving license
• 1 item of residential identification such as a utility bill or statement (gas, water, electricity, telephone) or correspondence from an official body or institution such as the Inland Revenue, Pension Provider, Bank or Building Society statements, DWP statement or Benefit book.

If you experience any difficulty in providing these documents, your solicitor can advise you on how best to prove who you are, & may include them carrying out an electronic verification, for which there is normally an additional charge.

For more information please contact Okells Francis Law
Telephone – 01989 762009/ 01594 842242
Email – office@okells-law.co.uk