Law Council of Australia

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National Legal Profession Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorism Financing Guidance

28 June 2024
 

Purpose

This Guidance is intended to raise awareness of the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing to prevent legal practitioners from being unwittingly misused by financial criminals. It also provides high level guidance about actions that legal practitioners can take now to mitigate the risk of exposure to being involved in money laundering or terrorism financing. It is not legal advice. It does not reflect practitioners’ obligations under any anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) statutory regime. 

Intended Audience

The main areas giving rise to the potential risk of money laundering and terrorism financing in the legal sector are associated with financial transactions. While the Guidance Notes use the terms ‘legal practice’ and ‘legal practitioner’, the primary target audience is solicitors, and especially solicitors who prepare for, or undertake, transactional work. Australian lawyers who practise exclusively as, or in the manner of, a barrister are forbidden in their legal practice from undertaking transactional work for a client or from holding, investing or disbursing funds for any person. Accordingly, the Guidance Notes address solicitors whose legal practices are associated with transactional work, including the holding, investment and disposal of clients’ funds. Barristers may be interested to review the suite of documents to help them understand the principles that guide the thinking and actions of their instructing solicitors and to develop their understanding of the phenomena of money laundering and terrorism financing and the steps being taken to prevent them.

The Guidance comprises:
 

A collated version of the Guidance is available here

The Guidance Notes, Workshop Notes and Red Flags List

Each Guidance Note has been designed both as a stand-alone document and as a member of a suite. Each Note contains references to other Notes in the suite reflecting a holistic approach to risk management. The Workshop Notes may be read by practitioners but are designed to be used as teaching tools. The ‘Example’ illustrates the information in Guidance Note No 6. The Case Studies are hypothetical situations for discussion.

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