Cleaning up: Law firms and the risk of money laundering

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Executive summary

It is estimated that up to £57 billion is laundered through the UK every year.1 Law firms are one of the key targets for those wishing to launder money.2 If even one percent of this amount were to go through law firms, it would still equate to hundreds of millions of pounds.

We are working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Home Office to ensure robust systems are in place to guard against law firms becoming involved in money laundering.

This report brings together and summarises information from other sources, which are referenced throughout the report, and can be used as a starting point when considering the risk of money laundering.

We will shortly be publishing the following warning notices on money laundering:

  • money laundering and terrorist financing
  • money laundering and terrorist financing – suspicious activity reports

Below are some good practices around preventing, detecting and reporting money laundering, some of which are legal obligations. This list is non-exhaustive and law firms must consider all the circumstances of a particular transaction.

You should keep up to date with the latest guidance as the papers referred to in this report are sometimes updated as new information is received.