British Court Clarifies that Court Counsel Need Not Make Suspicion Activity Reports

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Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Bruce Zagaris
On March 8, 2005, the Supreme Court of Judicature Court of Appeal, Civil Division, issued an opinion clarifying that the requirements of the British anti-money laundering law obligating lawyers to file suspicious activity reports (SAR) do not apply to counsel in litigation. The appellate court adjudicated a claim brought on April 7, 2004, which sought permission against an order of Judge Cowell in the Central London County Court on March 25, 2004, whereby he discharged an order made by Judge Crawford Lindsay. The latter judge had vacated the trial date of March 25-26, 2004 and directed that the action be rescheduled. The appeal implicates important issues concerning the ambit of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and its application to the legal profession. Because of its importance, the Bar Council, the Law Society and the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) were all granted permission to intervene in the appeal...[more]