Under r.26 of the Money Laundering Regulations (MLRs) 2017, it is a criminal offence to act as a beneficial owner, officer or manager (BOOM), or as a sole practitioner, of a practice unit in scope of the regulations without Law Society approval.

Each firm's Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) or designated person must use our online portal to keep their firm’s beneficial owner, officer or manager registration records up-to-date. Firms must inform us should any beneficial owner, officer or manager join or leave the firm, or move internally into or out of a relevant position. This notification must be accompanied by a basic Disclosure Scotland Certificate, issued within the last six months.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Disclosure Scotland service is currently only processing applications for people working on sectors deemed vital at this time (Healthcare, Pharmaceutical,  Childcare, Social work etc.). Legal firms are therefore currently unable to fulfil the criminal record checking and disclosures required of them by the MLRs.

It is important that firms retain the ability to appoint BOOMs during this period.

We have therefore highlighted this issue to HM Treasury, and they are content that, on a temporary basis while Disclosure Scotland are operating under these restrictions, firms or new sole practitioners can provide a statutory declaration that the BOOM(s) does not have a relevant criminal conviction as part of the application. Checks must then be sought as soon as reasonably practicable once Disclosure Scotland are able to process applications.

The statutory declaration is available here. This should be signed by the BOOM concerned, scanned and then uploaded by the MLRO/designated officer in lieu of the Disclosure Scotland Certificate when undertaking the registration work.

Firms are reminded that this process must be completed prior to a new BOOM being appointed, as per the requirements of r.26. Valid Basic Disclosure Scotland Certificates must be presented without delay once the full Disclosure Scotland service is resumed

Our r.26 registration page and frequently asked questions can also help you complete the ongoing AML registration process.

AML registration process - What you need to know

A list of frequently asked questions and answers we have compiled as a guide to assist you in completing the AML registration application process.

Preventing money laundering during Covid-19

The UK Legal Sector Affinity Group has published an advisory note for legal practitioners to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing going through law firms during the Covid-19 crisis.

Coronavirus update

We are working with partners in the Scottish legal sector and closely monitoring official advice and updates from Scottish Government and NHS to ensure that we are acting in accordance with the latest guidance to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, members and stakeholders.