Firms who generate the most complaints will pay more


The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) has won approval to overhaul how it calculates and collects regulatory fees from the practices it regulates, so it can now recharge more of the cost of the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) to the firms that generate disproportionate levels of complaints. The oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board, has approved […]

Current AML regime “does little to prevent money laundering”

Changes to the money laundering regulations should focus on increasing the effectiveness of efforts to tackle money laundering through a more risk-based and proportionate approach, said the Law Society of England and Wales in response to HM Treasury’s (HMT) call for evidence. The Call for Evidence is now closed and will consider the overall effectiveness […]

Estate agents should do more to tackle conveyancing fraud

A leading compliance specialist in the estate agency market has suggested that estate agents should be doing more to support efforts to complete customer due diligence and tackle money laundering.  Compliance Officer for The Guild of Property Professionals, Paul Offley, has said that agents should be following “best practice” to establish the legal/beneficial owner of […]

PII renewal remains challenging: Why? How can you mitigate against it?

By the time this article is published, we will have got through the key 1st October renewal date for SRA regulated Firms, following the immensely difficult CLC renewal earlier in the summer. Overall the Market for Legal Firms’ Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) remains very challenging, and indeed we have seen some Firms simply being unable […]

NatWest admits to anti-money laundering offences

NatWest Bank has admitted to three charges relating to anti-money laundering failures. NatWest, the state-backed bank formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, will face “very large fines” according to experts, following its failure to prevent alleged money laundering of £365 million by a single customer. The criminal action, first announced by the Financial Conduct […]

HMLR Practice Guide updates

HM Land Registry (HMLR) has published details of changes to several Practice Guides in its latest update.   First registrations (PG1) This guide deals with the procedure to be followed when applying for first registration of unregistered estates in land. It does not deal with the effects of registration or the characteristics of the various […]

Law firm and director fined over inadequate due diligence checks

A South London law firm, Topstone Solicitors Limited, and its director Silas Ogbonna have been fined for failing to complete proper due diligence checks on two property deals. Sanctions were imposed by the SRA following a regulatory settlement agreement that was approved by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. It was found at tribunal that due diligence […]

Legal Bricks launch Biometric face scanning ID checks

Legal Bricks have today announced the official launch of their Biometric face scanning ID checks – available as a standalone product or as part of their conveyancing client on-boarding portal, LB Connect. With the rise of fraud within conveyancing transactions, especially identity fraud, and tighter regulations around ID checks and the way clients are onboarded, […]

Data protection breaches have resulted in 1580% ICO fine increase

A report conducted by law firm RPC has revealed that fines for data protection breaches issued by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the latest financial year have increased by 1580% compared to the previous year. The record £42 million in fines in the year 2020/21 represent those issued for data protection breaches and were mainly comprised […]

Work to be done on supervision of AML regime

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) has released its latest report on progress made in tackling money laundering by regulators over the past year. While this year’s report acknowledges that professional body supervisors (PBSs) within the accountancy and legal sectors have improved, it highlights differing levels of achievement and “significant weaknesses in […]

New Build Property and Environmental Compliance Risks

With modern construction practices and stringent planning processes in the UK, it is a common assumption that new or recent housing developments will have been constructed to an appropriate standard, with the correct measures in place to ensure that homes are free of future contaminated land liability. But, is this a safe assumption to make? […]

“Marketing and advertising” remains leading cause of home moving complaints

The benefits of providing greater information up front have been laid bare in the latest The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Annual Report which has again highlighted “Communication and record keeping” and “Marketing and advertising” as the leading causes of home moving complaints. 2020 also saw a significant increase in enquiries with a record 39,285 reported, up […]

HMRC expected to resume pre-pandemic levels of SDLT investigations

The number of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) tax investigations by HMRC has fallen by 75% in the last year, from 2,096 in 2019/20 to 529 in 2020/21, the lowest figure in five years, a Freedom of Information request from law firm Boodle Hatfield reveals. The drop in investigations is thought to be due to […]

HMLR Practice Guide updates

HM Land Registry has released details of changes to several Practice Guides in this week’s update. Notices, restrictions and protection of third-party interests (PG19) This guide gives advice about how to apply for a notice or a restriction to protect a third-party interest in a registered estate or charge. It explains the effect of existing […]

Charges removed from properties of illegal money lender victims

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has obtained a High Court Order to remove hundreds of HM Land Registry charges, notices and restrictions registered against consumers’ properties by illegal money lender Dharam Prakash Gopee. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has successfully obtained a High Court Order to remove approximately 625 charges, notices or restrictions registered in […]

Legal Compliance Update – August 2021

Regulators really are busy at the moment! Solicitors Regulation Authority Another five firms have been fined for AML breaches, which follows on the heels of six that were recently fined £800 each with £600 costs; it is of note that two of these firms held the CQS accreditation and another two held the Lexcel accreditation; […]

Cladding crisis stalls again as lenders and RICS await guidance update

The Government’s plan to unlock at least some of the property market paralysed by the cladding crisis has faced yet another setback. New hope for leaseholders of properties in low rise buildings was offered last month when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that buildings under 18 metres in height would no longer need an EWS1 […]

SRA contacts 500 firms for price transparency compliance declaration

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched its latest crackdown on price transparency compliance. The regulator has this week contacted nearly 500 law firms to request completion of a questionnaire and signed declaration the firm is compliant with the SRA Transparency Rules. It has requested the completion of the declaration by 14th August.  The SRA has also […]

Digital ID Trust Scheme on trial in 11 locations

Estate agents, licensed conveyancers, solicitors and mortgage intermediaries operating in Battersea, Chiswick, Clapham, Putney, Wimbledon, Richmond, Kew, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Harrogate and York are to be the first to benefit this year from trials of a new digital identity trust scheme to make home buying and selling a quicker and more secure digital process. These geographical […]