BCL partner, John Binns comments on the report published this week by two anti-corruption charities, Spotlight on Corruption and Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme, on Anti-money laundering laws as they apply to lawyers and the regulation of the legal sector.
“Though it raises some interesting questions, it seems to mischaracterise fundamental aspects of these laws as ‘special treatment’ for lawyers, while paying too little attention to changes already underway to the SRA’s role.
Given that OPBAS was created squarely to regulate the regulators, and is still relatively new to the task, it would seem churlish or unduly impatient to contemplate throwing it out and replacing it with something else, at least just yet.
Nor should we rush to judge any new steps or reforms in this area by the sole yardstick of whether they increase fines or SARs.
None of that should be taken to minimise the importance of ensuring that lawyers, like anyone else, comply with AML laws and are properly dealt with when they do not.
Properly understood, most lawyers would accept the need for this to be done and seen to be done. On that, the charities and the professions should, surely, share a common cause.”