Temporary relaxation of certified client verification

An update from HM Land Registry temporarily relaxes who can provide client verification for law firms.

A temporary widening of those who can legally provide client verification has been implemented as the Government continues to respond to the challenges presented by lockdown.

On 1st May HM Land Registry announced that “in addition conveyancers and chartered legal executives, verification can now be undertaken by people who work, or have worked, in certain professions.”

Client verification can now be conducted by

  • retired conveyancers, chartered legal executives, solicitors and barristers
  • bank officials and regulated financial advisers
  • medical doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons
  • chartered and certified accountants
  • police officers and officers in the UK armed forces
  • teachers and college and university teaching staff
  • Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly members
  • UK civil servants of senior executive officer (SEO) grade or above
  • magistrates

The announcement also allows the verification to be completed by video call.

More details are due in the coming days. You can read the announcement here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-identity-verification-and-signing-deeds

Many law firms have found client verification to be increasingly challenging as social distancing and lockdown have prevented traditional identification methods.

HMLR have already introduced measures to help firms, announcing that they will no longer reject applications where identity evidence is not provided. A requisition will be raised so that the application does not lose its priority.

The risk for firms is that criminals will seek to take advantage of the uncertainty that has been created by remote working and furlough.

The regulators are reporting a spike in attacks while the current climate reduces the risk for those wishing to launder illegal funds.

Lawyer Checker clients have access to a range of fraud mitigation tools, with many adopting our remote client verification service, Thirdfort. Thirdfort enables the verification of clients for ID and AML compliance without the need to meet face to face.

To find out more about how we can help you continue to operate an AML compliant verification process please contact Tom Lyes (tom.lyes@practicalvision.co.uk) on 0800 133 7127