17 September 2019

Money Laundering Hotline

Contacting us with a concern about Money Laundering


The Bar Standards Board's Money Laundering Hotline is a confidential service that anyone can use to report a concern to us, about a person or an organisation we regulate, in connection with Money Laundering. For example you can call or email us:

  • If you think that a barrister or an organisation that we regulate is not complying with the Money Laundering Regulations.
  • If you suspect that a barrister or an organisation that we regulate could be involved (knowingly or unknowingly) in laundering criminal money or helping someone else to do so.

What is Money Laundering?


Money laundering is the term used to describe the process by which criminals disguise where the proceeds of criminal activity have come from, making it appear to have come from a lawful source. Criminals sometimes do this with the help (knowlingly or unknowlingly) of professionals such as lawyers and accountants.


Who we regulate


The Bar Standards Board (BSB) regulates barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales and is designated as a Supervisor under the Money Laundering Regulations.

You can check on our website if a barrister is authorised by us to practise, or an organisation is regulated by us.

Please be aware that the Barristers' Register only displays details of barristers who are authorised to practise and therefore have a current practising certificate. Someone who has been Called to the Bar is entitled to refer to themselves as a barrister in certain circumstances, even though they are not listed on the Barristers' Register. You can read more about this here. You can still report a concern about money laundering to us even if the barrister in question is not authorised by us to practise. If you want to check if an individual or an organisation is regulated by us, you can contact us on the number or email below.


Barristers' obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations


Barristers and organisations which we regulate must comply with the Money Laundering Regulations if the work that they do falls within the scope of sections 11 and 12 of the Regulations (this includes tax advice, forming companies and setting up trusts; barristers and the organisations we regulate are not allowed to hold client money or manage their clients' affairs).

Even if a barrister or a organisation we regulate is acting in a matter that is not covered by the Money Laundering Regulations, they still have an obligation not to commit an offence related to Money Laundering.

You can read more about barristers' obligations here.


What happens when you contact us


The Hotline (phone line and email account) is managed by the BSB's Supervision team during office hours (9am - 5pm). If no one is available to take your call, you can leave a message.

We understand that the decision to contact us might be difficult, so we want to reassure you that we treat all reports very seriously and if you want to contact us on an anonymous basis, you can.

When you contact the Money Laundering Hotline, we will:

  • ask you to provide as much information as you are comfortable with. This might include names, dates, the type of wrongdoing and evidence you have.
  • Talk through with you what we will do with the information you have given us.

Where information is provided anonymously, we will take appropriate steps to protect your identity. We may have difficulty in taking enforcement or disciplinary action based on anonymous reports, but our Supervision team may still be able to act on your report. We will discuss that with you if you call us.

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject, we may not be able to keep you updated as to the progress of our investigation, but you can be assured that we will take your report very seriously.


Protection for whistleblowers


The Employment Rights Act provides the right for a worker to take a case to an Employment Tribunal if they have been victimised at work or they have lost their job because they have 'blown the whistle' in the public interest. A worker who feels unable to blow the whistle internally may make a disclosure to one of a list of "prescribed persons" without losing their rights. As the BSB is not a "prescribed person" we cannot guarantee your protection under the legislation. You can read more about this here.


How to contact us

Call us on 0207 611 1346

Email us on aml@barstandardsboard.org.uk


What to do if you have a complaint or a concern about  a barrister or organisation we regulate about another matter not related to Money Laundering


The phone number and email above are only for concerns about Money Laundering. If you want to make a report or complain about a barrister or another person we regulate, please click here for information about how to do that.