20 August 2019

Anti-money laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing

Barristers, chambers and BSB entities need to be aware of the risk of becoming involved in money laundering and/or terrorist financing.

If you undertake work that falls within the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations then you have specific obligations under the Regulations.

If you are a barrister acting in a matter that is not covered by the Regulations, you still have an obligation not to commit an offence within the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Terrorism Act 2000.

Barristers have a legal requirement to report to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) information that could undermine UK financial sanctions. See  OFSI's website for further information.




HM Treasury has decided that there should be one set of guidance for the legal sector in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The BSB has been working with the other legal regulators and representatives from the professions to develop the joint guidance.

The AML legal sector guidance has now been approved by HM Treasury.

You are not required to follow this guidance, but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

The Bar Council has updated its guidance with some case studies to further assist barristers, chambers and BSB entities in applying the Regulations.


Your obligation to carry out a risk assessment


Under Regulation 18 of the Money Laundering and terrorist Financing Regulations, self-employed barristers and BSB entities who carry out work that falls within the scope of the Regulations must take appropriate steps to identify and assess the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing to which their practice or business is subject. See here for further information.


Declaration at Authorisation to Practise and obtaining a criminal records check


Barristers applying for or renewing their practising certificates will be asked to declare whether they carry out work that falls within the scope of the Money Laundering Regulations. If they do, they must obtain a criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service. See here for further information.


NCA guidance


The National Crime Agency (NCA) has prepared a set of frequently asked questions on the process for obtaining a Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML). A DAML is a term used by the NCA to refer to 'appropriate consent' to carry out an activity that may result in a person committing a principal money laundering or terrorist financing offence.

Barristers that require specific advice on DAML or any other part of the SARs regime can contact the Bar Council Ethical Enquiries Service for further assistance and guidance.


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