AML National Risk Assessment

The Home Office and HM Treasury have released the government’s highly anticipated National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing (NRA). The government describes the NRA as ‘the first comprehensive assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the UK’.

The Law Society issued a policy update on 3 November 2015

AML Policy update

Changes to CQS accreditation

Changes to CQS accreditation
The Law Society are introducing some changes to CQS.

The re-accreditation  process will change, as will elements of the mandatory training as well as how the CQS team monitor and assess firms within the scheme.

There will be no change to the length of your accreditation and CQS will continue to be awarded for a period of 12 months.

CQS Changes

SRA tells solicitors: explain your separate business set-up

Firms will also be allowed to refer cases to the separate business with which they are attached, but only if it is in the client’s best interests.

The client’s consent to waving their confidentiality ‘must be clear and they cannot be forced to do so’, the guidance states. This request to waive confidentiality must be clear and separate to any other terms.

Law Gazette

Changes to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation process

President of the Law Society Jonathan Smithers said:

‘We are pleased to announce these improvements. CQS is a valuable quality mark for firms which helps them to stand out from the competition, gain access to several lender panels, and demonstrate to clients that they follow best practice, and meet the highest standards of technical expertise and client service.

‘The revisions will streamline the administration of the scheme, saving time and resources for our members. Just as importantly they will ensure that the rigour of the application process remains, and ensure that there is robust monitoring of firms within the scheme.’

Speeding up CQS Applications

Veyo departures and appointments

Changes at Veyo

Now all change at Legal Practice Technologies [LPT] with new challenges from Free2Convey, Free2Convey portal the Free to Use Conveyancing Portal backed by the Legal Software Suppliers Association [LSSA]

New LPT chief executive Simon Drane said “The first job for any new CEO is to review and evaluate the product.

“This will identify what needs to be done to make Veyo available to conveyancers as soon as we are satisfied that it has the functions and usability to be a market leader.”

The Law Society has invested over £5m in Legal Practice Technologies, the joint venture set up to deliver Veyo.

LeO’s application ADR approved body

Legal Ombudsman’s (LeO) application to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to become certified as an ADR approved body for the purposes of the ADR Directive has been withdrawn.

EU Directive on consumer alternative dispute resolution (ADR Directive)

Solicitors must comply by 1 October 2015 with the ADR Directive.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s approved list Trading Standards approved list

Advice from Law Society

Law Society response

Metro Bank and Newcastle Building Society panel restrictions

Metro Bank and Newcastle Building Society are among the institutions that have introduced new restrictions. They now require firms to have at least 120 purchase completions registered with Land Registry over the past 12 months.

Law Gazette article

Jonathan Smithers, president of the Law Society, said: ‘The number of transactions a firm has completed, particularly for smaller firms, does not necessarily indicate the quality of that firm’s work. We would urge lenders to look at qualitative indicators such as membership of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme when selecting firms.’

Yorkshire Building Society and CQS

The Yorkshire Building Society now require CQS accreditation to remain on their panel.