Extracted from Law Society practice note AML and ID
The following sources may be useful for verification of UK-based clients:
- current signed passport
- birth certificate
- current photocard driver’s licence
- current EEA member state identity card
- current identity card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
- residence permit issued by the Home Office
- firearms certificate or shotgun licence
- photographic registration cards for self-employed individuals and partnerships in the construction industry
- benefit book or original notification letter from the DWP confirming the right to benefits
- council tax bill
- utility bill or statement, or a certificate from a utilities supplier confirming an arrangement to pay services on pre-payment terms
- a cheque or electronic transfer drawn on an account in the name of the client with a credit or financial institution regulated for the purposes of money laundering
- bank, building society or credit union statement or passbook containing current address
- entry in a local or national telephone directory confirming name and address
- confirmation from an electoral register that a person of that name lives at that address
- a recent original mortgage statement from a recognised lender
- solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address
- local council or housing association rent card or tenancy agreement
- HMRC self-assessment statement or tax demand
- house or motor insurance certificate
- record of any home visit made
- statement from a member of the firm or other person in the regulated sector who has known the client for a number of years attesting to their identity – bear in mind you may be unable to contact this person to give an assurance supporting that statement at a later date
Where you meet the client you are likely to be able to see the person’s passport or national identity card. If you have concerns that the identity document might not be genuine, contact the relevant embassy or consulate.
The client’s address may be obtained from:
- an official overseas source
- a reputable directory
- a person regulated for money laundering purposes in the country where the person is resident who confirms that the client is known to them and lives or works at the overseas address given
If documents are in a foreign language you must take appropriate steps to be reasonably satisfied that the documents in fact provide evidence of the client’s identity.
Where you do not meet the client, the Regulations state that you must undertake enhanced due diligence measures.
Sometimes clients are unable to provide standard verification documents. The purpose of the regulations is not to deny people access to legal services for legitimate transactions, but to mitigate the risk of legal services being used for the purposes of money laundering. You should consider whether the inability to provide you with standard verification is consistent with the client’s profile and circumstances or whether it might make you suspicious that money laundering or terrorist financing is occurring.
Where you decide that a client has a good reason for not meeting the standard verification requirements, you may accept a letter from an appropriate person who knows the individual and can verify the client’s identity.
- Clients in care homes might be able to provide a letter from the manager.
- Clients without a permanent residence might be able to provide a letter from a householder named on a current council tax bill or a hostel manager, confirming temporary residence.
- A refugee might be able to provide a letter from the Home Office confirming refugee status and granting permission to work, or a Home Office travel document for refugees.
- An asylum seeker might be able to provide their registration card and any other identity documentation they hold, or a letter of assurance as to identity from a community member such as a priest, GP, or local councillor who has knowledge of the client.
- A student or minor might be able to provide a birth certificate and confirmation of their parent’s address or confirmation of address from the register of the school or higher education institution.
- A person with mental health problems or mental incapacity might know medical workers, hostel staff, social workers, deputies or guardians appointed by the court who can locate identification documents or confirm the client’s identity.
Where other professionals use your services, you may consult their professional directory to confirm the person’s name and business address. It will not be necessary to then confirm the person’s home address. You may consult directories for foreign professionals, if you are satisfied it is a valid directory, eg one produced and maintained by their professional body, and you can either translate the information, or understand it already.