Bar Association welcomes ruling that attorneys must report clients’ suspicious transactions

The Jamaica Bar Association has welcomed the Privy Council’s ruling relating to the law, which will require attorneys to report suspicious transactions of their clients.


The Privy Council ruled that Jamaica’s anti-money laundering law as it applies to attorneys is not a breach of the constitution.


In response, the bar association said the decision has brought finality to the issues and concerns raised by the association about certain aspects of the statutory regime, regarding how attorneys-at-law would operate as designated non-financial institutions in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.


The association noted that the Privy Council confirmed that the organisation was not motivated by narrow professional self-interest, but rather on the destructive effect the regime has in its application to the essential confidentiality of the lawyer client relationship .


The association is asking the public and its potential clients to cooperate with attorneys-at-law who seek to carry out due diligence on their clients and their transactions relating to purchasing and selling businesses or real estate or creating companies or trusts.


The statement said the public is to be made aware that, separate and apart from the requirement that an attorney- at-law has a duty to make a suspicious transaction report to the financial investigation division, on any transaction which could constitute or be related to money laundering, at the commencement of the transaction, the attorney should  obtain information from their  client as to their identity and source of funding.


The bar association noted that the Privy Council has said that it would not affect an attorney’s compliance with the regime, if he were to warn his clients, at the outset, that his transaction may well be disclosed, and his documents copied by a regulatory authority (and shared with an agency abroad).


The association said it has conducted and will continue to conduct continuing legal education seminars for attorneys-at-law as to how they should conduct their practices to accord with the proceeds of crime act.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.