INSIGHT: UK (un)confidential
Client confidentiality should be a primary concern to all UK lawyers following the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. But, as Derek Bedlow reports, the way the act has been drafted puts private client lawyers in an impossible position
The principle of client confidentiality is under attack from all sides and private client lawyers do not expect the situation to improve any time soon.The chief culprit for the erosion of lawyer/client privilege is the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which requires lawyers to report their clients’ suspicious transactions to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) or face possible criminal charges. Informing clients that you have reported their transaction could potentially produce the same result, leaving private client lawyers with an impossible dilemma between their duty to the client and their legal obligation to report transactions.
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