Society launches reporting concerns helpline
An important tool has been added to help bring serious concerns to light
Individuals with concerns that members of the legal community are involved with financial improprieties or money laundering, can now anonymously report their concerns to the Law Society of Scotland.
The confidential reporting concerns helpline and online form, which went live on 1 February, have been set up as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that the legitimate services provided by legal firms are not misused for illegitimate purposes.
The importance of reporting a concern
As the anti-money laundering supervisor for Scottish solicitors, we are committed to raising awareness of the prevalence of money laundering and the numerous ways in which it can be carried out. As part of this, we have enhanced our role as an anti-money laundering supervisor by implementing the recommendations of the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS). I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to all firms for their support and co-operation to strengthen AML procedures and meet the requirements of the 2017 Money Laundering Regulations.
It is important that we provide our members and the public with the information, support and processes to protect the public and prevent the Scottish legal system being used to launder the proceeds of crime. We strongly encourage responsible and lawful reports to us of information about inappropriate actions and serious risks at the earliest possible stage.
If you are concerned about the conduct of someone who you work with or another member of the legal community, it can place you in a difficult position. However, many serious risks to the public do not come to light unless someone makes the decision to report them, or they may come to light only when a great deal of damage or loss has already been caused. Your prompt report could be vital in protecting consumers, other members of the public and the good reputation of the Scottish legal profession from harm.
How to report a concern
If you know, or suspect, that another regulated person, or their employee, is involved in dishonest or inappropriate actions, please contact our reporting concerns line on 0330 094 7935, or complete our online form and read our policy at www.lawscot.org.uk/reportingconcerns
The reporting concerns helpline is available to all members of the profession, their staff, and members of the public who want to report concerns. For all other matters, you can contact us on 0131 226 7411.
Further support for our members
All members can contact our Professional Practice helpline for free and confidential support and advice on legal practice and procedure on 0131 226 8896. Trainee solicitors can contact our confidential trainee helpline on 0131 476 8162.
All members can also use Lawscot Wellbeing for information and signposting to help manage emotional wellbeing. This is available at www.lawscot.org.uk/members/wellbeing.
Phil Yelland is executive director of Regulation at the Law Society of Scotland. e: PhilipYelland@lawscot.org.uk