Why do we need to verify your identity?
In common with most banks and professional advisers we are required by law to conduct identification checks on clients even where they are known personally to us or have had dealings with us in the past. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their clients can be used by criminals wishing to launder money.
Who exactly needs to provide us with evidence of their identity?
|Type of client||“Relevant Individual”|
|Company||Two directors and any shareholders holding over 25% of the voting shares in the capital of the Company|
|Limited liability partnership / LLP||Two members of the LLP|
If your client type is not listed above then please ask and we can provide you with more information.
What documentation does each Relevant Individual need to provide?
1. Current passport or photo driving licence; and
2. A utility bill addressed to you at your residential address that is no more than 3 months old.
3. You can provide us with simple copies of your photographic ID documents and confirm your residential address, which we will use to undertake a search with a credit reference agency (SmartSearch) for the purposes of verifying your identity. This is not a credit check. The credit reference agency may check the details we supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. They may also use your details in the future to assist other companies for verification purposes. A record of the search will be retained on file. If we have not met you in person we may ask you to send us a ‘selfie’ holding your photo ID document or attend a video call so we can verify your likeness to the photograph.
How can a Relevant Individual provide us with those documents?
The simplest way is for each Relevant Individual to bring his/her originals of those documents into our office in person. This allows us to carry out all our verification checks in one go.
If that is not possible there are a couple of options:
1. You can ask someone else to bring your original documents into our office by hand or send them in by post*. We would then need to arrange a follow up video call to confirm your appearance matches the photographic ID you have provided; or
2. You can take your original documents to a local recognised professional and ask them to provide you with certified copies which you can send to us by post. Please note the certification wording must be as follows: a) in respect of photographic ID: “This is a true and accurate copy of the original and the photograph is a true likeness of [NAME]”; and b) in respect of ID that evidences your address: “This is a true and accurate copy of the original”.
*We would strongly advise using special recorded delivery if sending original passport or photo driving licence and we would do likewise when returning those documents to you. We cannot be held responsible for your documents if they are lost in the postal system.
How often will he/she have to repeat the process?
The verification process has to be repeated every three years (assuming there is ongoing work).