This guidance sets out our approach to receiving intelligence from the public, from solicitors and from other people working in the legal sector, which relates to money laundering.
If you are concerned about the actions of someone who you work with or another person in respect of money laundering, it can place you in a difficult position. However, many serious risks to the public do not come to light unless someone decides to report them, or they may come to light only when a great deal of damage or loss has already been caused. We strongly encourage responsible and lawful reports to us of information about serious concerns and risks at the earliest possible stage. Your prompt report could be vital in protecting consumers, other members of the public and the wider profession.
We will deal with your report sensitively and if information is provided to us on a confidential basis, we will take appropriate steps to protect your identity. Information is, however, often provided to us openly. Please do inform us when making your report if you wish your report to remain confidential, otherwise we may assume that we can disclose it as part of any regulatory action we take in the matter.
However, when we follow up on your information relating to money laundering concerns, we will in nearly all cases aim to verify the facts independently through our inspection and file review functions. Intelligence on financial matters has been provided to our Financial Compliance team by third parties for many years and the identity of whistle blowers has not been disclosed in these cases.
In some cases, we will need to discuss with you whether you are prepared to be identified at some stage in the process. For example, depending upon the facts of the case, we may have difficulty in taking enforcement or disciplinary action without formally and openly relying upon evidence from you.
Individuals who we regulate are required to report such matters to us in any event. However, if you are also regulated by us and are concerned about whether you yourself may be investigated for your own part in any wrongdoing, reporting the issues and co-operating with us could constitute significant mitigation. This is particularly so where issues are reported to us at an early stage. Late reports could, however, also constitute mitigation. We would rather solicitors and others working in the legal sector provided information late than not at all. Although we cannot guarantee that we will not take any action against you, bringing the information to us is likely to help your position considerably.
Not all information or documentation which solicitors or others involved in the legal sector encounter can immediately be shared with us. In some circumstances part of the information which you wish to share with us may be sensitive. For example, information given to you in a court or tribunal case is sometimes barred from being used (including being disclosed) for anything other than your case. A lot of information in court cases can be disclosed to us but the risks arising from incorrect disclosure are so serious that it is important to be very careful.
If you have any concerns about the nature of the information in question then it is much safer for you to speak to us or a legal adviser before you send it. We cannot give you legal advice but we can try to help you understand where you stand. If you are a solicitor you may wish to speak to our Professional Practice team at this point.
If you know, or suspect, that another regulated person, or their employee, is involved money laundering or related actions, contact our reporting concerns line on 0330 0947935 or complete our online form below. The reporting concerns line is available to all members of the profession, their staff, and members of the public who want to report concerns.
For all other matters, you can contact us on 0131 2267411.
Where individuals contact other members of our staff to provide information, those staff members will refer the matter to the staff responsible for answering calls to the reporting concerns line. This will ensure that all information is treated consistently. Those staff will then distribute the information to the appropriate teams within the Law Society of Scotland.
This policy applies where intelligence received relates to money laundering and related activities. To make a complaint against a Scottish solicitor please contact the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) on 0131 2012130. If we receive a complaint against a solicitor, we are duty bound to forward this to the SLCC as per Section 33 of the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland Act) 2007.
If you are a Scottish solicitor, you can contact our Professional Practice team for free and confidential support and advice on legal practice and procedure on 0131 2268896.
If you are a trainee solicitor, you can contact our confidential trainee support helpline on 0131 476 8162.
All members can also use Lawscot Wellbeing for information and signposting to help manage emotional wellbeing.