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Risk Agenda

Welcome to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers’ Annual Risk Agenda.

The community of specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers that the CLC regulates carries a huge responsibility for ensuring that clients’ money and other assets are kept secure while those clients go through major life events such as moving home or losing a loved-one.

Today, the threats to your clients’ assets are more sophisticated than ever and the challenges for lawyers have grown correspondingly. Property transactions and probate

issues are more complex than ever before as family life changes and lawyers have serious responsibilities to help combat fraud and money-laundering as well as ensuring that sanctioned individuals or businesses cannot get around the restrictions that the UK government or international community has placed on them.

The second of our annual Risk Agendas aims to help CLC-regulated lawyers meet the challenges of legal

practice in the fast-changing world and to protect their clients. It looks at a wide range of issues, from digital identity checks to changes to professional indemnity insurance, complaints handling to cybercrime. I hope that you will find this useful in your practice.

We would be very pleased to hear from you about items that you believe should appear in the next edition of the Risk Agenda.

Sheila Kumar | Chief Executive

Anti-money laundering

Hundreds of millions are laundered through conveyancing across the UK. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has placed a spotlight on the role of property in ‘cleaning’ dirty money.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put sanctions near the top of risk issues for law firms, given the influx of Russian money into the UK property market over the years.

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Know Your Client

Only an understanding of the client will ensure that lawyers are truly able to act in their best interests, especially if they are vulnerable.

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Pro Indemnity Insurance

The PII market is hardening. Aside from the pressures imposed by Covid and Brexit, insurers continue to be under pressure to improve profitability.

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Aged balances

Aged balances remain a live concern. Our inspections show that many firms have aged balances on their books, and the amounts involved can quickly add up.

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Conflicts of interest

CLC-regulated practices can act for more than one party to a transaction. Each party must be represented by different authorised person(s)/parties.

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Transparency and Informed Choice

All CLC lawyers are subject to the sector-wide requirements around providing information that helps consumers choose their lawyer.

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File storage

Best practice is to ensure that files are scanned or exported to PDF and saved in an electronic database at the point of archiving.

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Business continuity planning

The CLC wants to know that you have considered the risks and are prepared for possible scenarios, including rapid closure.

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Closing your practice

The hardening professional indemnity insurance market has led to firms closing down and in turn a focus on ensuring this is done in an orderly fashion.

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Complaints and the cost of practising

The cost of the Legal Ombudsman is passed on to all the approved regulators through a levy based on the average number of complaints.

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IT resilience and recovery

Businesses of all sizes now suffer cyber incidents and law firms are no different. It is a matter of when, not if.

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