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Handbook

The CLC's regulatory regime is underpinned by the Handbook which sets out the regulatory responsibilities of all individuals and firms regulated by us. 

The previous Rules and Guidance Notes have been replaced with Codes which, wherever possible, are comprised of flexible, higher-level principles rather than detailed prescriptive requirements.

The Code of Conduct is the parent document of the CLC's regulatory approach. Non-mandatory Guidance, which accompanies many of the Codes, can be viewed in the Guidance booklet.

Handbook - Regulatory Arrangements Universal

Overview

The regulatory regime is underpinned by the Handbook which sets out the regulatory responsibilities of all individuals and firms regulated by us.

Introduction

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

The Legal Services Act

The 2007 Act introduced Regulatory Objectives championing the interests of consumers of legal services:

  • Protecting and promoting the public interest;
  • Supporting the constitutional principle of the rule of law;
  • Improving access to justice;
  • Protecting and promoting the interests of consumers;
  • Promoting competition in the provision of services;
  • Encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession;
  • Increasing public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties; and
  • Promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles.

The objectives focus upon the principled behaviour of legal services providers and the interests of the consumer and the public. They are therefore best supported through regulation based in principles and focused upon positive Client Outcomes.

 Outcomes-focused and principles-based regulation

Our regulatory arrangements must uphold the Regulatory Objectives and are therefore concentrated on delivery of high standards alongside the 3 Cs of client, competition and choice.

The Code of Conduct is the parent document of the CLC Handbook and Frameworks; it sits above all other Codes in our regulatory arrangements and must be complied with at all times in the delivery of all its authorised reserved legal activities and permitted non-reserved legal activities, as specified in the CLC licence. It specifies the Outcomes you as members of the CLC regulated community are expected to deliver. The following behaviours are considered essential to delivery of these Outcomes:

 1.           Act with independence and integrity.

2.            Maintain high standards of work.

3.            Act in the best interests of Clients.

4.            Comply with duty to the court. 

5.            Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way.

6.            Promote equality of access and service.

These six Overriding Principles are derived from the Regulatory Objectives set out above. The six have equal ranking and permeate our entire regulatory arrangements; you/the body you own or manage must act in this principled way at all times. The Overriding Principles are underpinned by Principles and Specific Requirements:

Outcomes – delivery of a positive result for clients; it is the end result of the applications of a principle or specific requirement;

Principle – an essential quality; a characteristic, behaviour or ethic, which must be demonstrated so that positive outcomes are generated for clients;

Specific requirement – a strict direction for conduct.

Should a circumstance present an apparent conflict between a principle and another regulatory requirement you should opt for that which delivers the most positive Outcome for the Client concerned whilst maintaining independence, integrity and high standards of work. If in doubt, contact the CLC for advice.    

Minimising prescription

Our regulatory arrangements are intended to ensure that clients receive a service tailored to their needs; and legal service providers develop new and different ways of delivering services to their clients. We will always look to provide principles rather than specific requirements wherever possible in order that we promote, not just allow, competition and choice. More prescriptive, ‘specific requirements’ are present only where they are required in the public interest and to protect the consumer. Such non-principled regulatory requirements will be applied in a principled-based way wherever possible so that any penalty imposed is proportionate to a breach.

In providing you with flexibility we are also giving you responsibility - of good governance, quality assurance and risk management.  The Guidance attached to Codes is there to provide useful information to the regulated community and in the case of Example Policies or Procedures to provide a possible route to the positive outcomes sought, but importantly, not the only route. If you are able to generate the same or better outcomes another way you are free to do so.

Applicability of Codes

All the Codes underpin the Code of Conduct and are in place to support the delivery of that Code’s Outcomes. The relevant Code of Conduct Principles and Specific Requirements are referenced in each Code so each one can be referenced as a standalone document where needed. The Universal Codes pertain to all Regulated Services which a body provides. All individuals/bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with these Codes. The Codes identified as Specific – located in the rear of this Handbook – are relevant only to those bodies specified, or those providing the identified services.

We retain the discretion to waive a particular requirement of the regulatory arrangements. A body may apply for a modification of its licence to this end or we may apply a waiver due to particular circumstances.

Words presented in bold italicised font – such as Regulated Services above - are defined in the Glossary of Terms provided at the rear of this handbook.  

Frameworks & Policies

We currently operate the following 7 Frameworks:

  • Compensation Fund Operating Framework;
  • Continuing Professional Development Framework;
  • Licensed Body (ABS) Licensing Framework;
  • Licensed Conveyancer CLC Lawyer Licensing Framework;
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance Operating Framework;
  • Recognised Body Recognition Framework; and
  • Student Training Framework.

These define our operating parameters, setting out the process which will be followed in the relevant instances e.g. the Compensation Fund Operating Framework sets out the rules by which the CLC manages its compensation scheme. We have provided the Compensation Fund, Continuing Professional Development and Professional Indemnity Insurance Frameworks within the CLC Handbook for your reference. The remaining frameworks are available to view on the CLC website (along with the 3 provided here and our Fees Framework) and are not provided in the Handbook as they are the frameworks under which you applied to be regulated by us, and through which your licence or certificate was granted.

Policies mandate the performance of our activities. They set out the principles and values which will be applied in our approach to the relevant instances. The CLC Regulation and Enforcement Policy is provided in the Handbook due to its relevance to all of the CLC regulated community and to the regulatory arrangements set out in this Handbook.

The Regulation section of the Policy explains what we as a regulator of legal services are seeking to achieve and how our regulatory philosophy is put into practice. The Enforcement section explains how we identify and respond to non-compliance with our regulatory requirements and the factors which determine the form our response takes.

This Handbook and its accompanying Frameworks come into force on October 6th 2011, on which date the CLC Rules and Guidance Notes which they replace cease to have effect, save and except as the same still subsist or are capable of taking effect. The CLC can still take action in respect of any breach of the CLC Rules and Guidance Notes, which occurred before 6th October 2011. 

Welcome to the CLC

Code of Conduct

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

Introduction

This Code of Conduct was made in accordance with s.20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985; s.53 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990; and s.83 of the Legal Services Act 2007

All individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code and its associated regulatory arrangements. In this Code “you” refers to individuals and bodies (and the employees and managers within them) regulated by the CLC.  You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.  Your main driver should be the delivery of positive client outcomes. The Code comprises principles and specific requirements, which taken together deliver positive Outcomes for your Clients and, particularly in relation to Overriding Principle 6, for others you deal with.

To effectively secure the protection of, and the provision of choice for, the consumer of legal services, you must at all times comply with the following Overriding Principles:

1.            Act with independence and integrity;

2.            Maintain high standards of work;

3.            Act in the best interests of your Clients;

4.            Comply with your duty to the court; 

5.            Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way;

6.            Promote equality of access and service.

These are underpinned by principles of behaviour which must be demonstrated and specific requirements which must be complied with in order that the Overriding Principles are supported.

Disciplinary proceedings may be taken against you if the CLC believes there has been a breach of this Code, meaning that clients do not receive the standard of legal services they should reasonably expect to receive.  The CLC’s response will be informed by the CLC’s Regulatory and Enforcement Policies. 

In exceptional circumstances the CLC may waive a provision, or provisions, of the regulatory arrangements for an individual, body or circumstance for a particular purpose, or purposes, and with the conditions specified in the waiver.

Overriding Principle 1.    Act with independence and integrity

Outcomes - you must deliver the following Outcomes:

1.1          Clients receive good quality independent information, representation and    
                advice;

1.2        Clients receive an honest and lawful service;

1.3        Client money is kept separately and safely.

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way:

a. You do not allow your independence to be compromised.

b. You act honestly, professionally and decently.

c. You do not conduct yourself in a manner which may result in a breach of the law nor in any other manner which may bring the legal profession into disrepute.

d. You carry on Reserved Legal Activity only through a person entitled to carry on that activity.

e. You do not give false or misleading information relating to the provision of Regulated Services.

f. You do not allow fee arrangements to prejudice your independence or professional judgement.

g. You do not conduct business under a misleading name.

h. You keep Client money safe.

i. You do not publicise your business through unsolicited communications in person or by telephone.

j. Your advertising is clear, accurate and fair.

k. You keep Client money entirely separate from your money or the money of the entity.

l. You do not take unfair advantage of any person, whether or not a Client of the business.
              

Specific Requirements - you must also comply with the following specific requirements:

m. You comply with anti-money laundering and prevention of financing terrorism legislation.

n. When acting as a CLC licensee, you accept instructions only to act in a matter which is regulated by the CLC.

o. All business communications, websites and office premises display information confirming the entity is regulated by the CLC and the names of the Managers (identifying those who are Authorised Persons).

 

 Overriding Principle 2.   Maintain high standards of work

Outcomes- you must deliver the following Outcomes:

2.1       Clients are provided with a high standard of legal services

2.2      Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence

2.3      Appropriate arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment are in place to ensure Clients always receive a high standard of service.

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way: 

a)      You provide the level of service appropriate for, and agreed with, the Client.

b)      You keep your skills and legal knowledge up-to-date.

c)       You ensure all individuals within the entity are competent to do their work.

d)       You supervise and regularly check the quality of work in Client matters.

e)       You comply fully with any undertaking given by you.

f)       You systematically identify and mitigate risks to the business and to Clients.

g)      You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements.

h)      You enable staff to raise concerns which are acted on appropriately.

i)       You maintain proper governance, management, supervision, financial, and risk management arrangements and controls

j)       You administer oaths, affirmations and declarations properly.

k)      You deliver services in accordance with timetables reasonably agreed with the Client.

 

 Specific Requirements - you must also comply with the following specific requirements:

l)        Control of an entity is from a permanent fixed address in England or Wales.

m)       A Manager who is an Authorised Person is responsible for ensuring that all of the entity’s employees are properly supervised.

n)        You make provision for alternative supervision arrangements in case of illness, accident or other unforeseen event.

o)        You maintain proper records to evidence your arrangements and controls and how they are applied.

 

Overriding Principle 3.     Act in the best interests of your Clients

Outcomes - you must deliver the following Outcomes:

3.1          Each Client’s best interests are served;

3.2          Clients receive advice appropriate to their circumstances;

3.3          Clients have the information they need to make informed decisions;

3.4          Clients are aware of any referral arrangements and that they are consistent
                 with your responsibilities both to them and to the CLC;

3.5          Clients are aware of any limitation or any condition resulting from your
                relationship with another party;

3.6          Clients’ affairs are treated confidentially (except as required or permitted
                by law or with the Client’s consent).

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way.

a)    You only accept instructions and act in relation to matters which are within your professional competence.

b)  You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements).

c)      You do not act for a Client where you judge it is not in their best interests for you to do so.

d)     You do not accept instructions from a person nor continue to act for a Client whose interests conflict directly with your own, the entity’s, or another Client.

e)    You disclose client information only as the Client has instructed (or as required by the CLC’s regulatory arrangements or by law), keeping effective records of any disclosures you make.

f)     You only recommend a particular person, business or product when it is in the best interests of the Client.

g)    You cease acting in a matter if the Client so instructs or, in the absence of such instructions where it is reasonable to do so.

h)    You provide the Client with information which is accurate, useful and appropriate to the particular Client.               

i)     You only provide Regulated Services whilst you have CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance in force.

j)     You provide the Client with all relevant information relating to any fee arrangements or fee changes.

k)  You advise Clients of the name and status of the person dealing with their matter and the name of the person responsible for overall supervision.

 l)  You consult Clients on key decisions in a timely way.

m)  You promptly advise Clients of any significant changes to projected costs, timelines and strategies.

Specific Requirements- you must also comply with the following specific requirements:

n)    Where the entity represents parties with different interests in any transaction each party is at all times represented by different Authorised Persons conducting themselves in the matter as though they were members of different entities.

o) You ensure there are adequate indemnity arrangements in respect of claims made against you for work carried out by you before you have ceased to practice by purchasing professional indemnity insurance for a minimum of 6 years from the expiry of the period of professional indemnity insurance stated in your evidence of insurance or policy document.

 p)    If you seek to exclude or limit liability, you do so only to the extent that such exclusion or limitation is above the minimum level of cover provided by CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance; you must obtain the written informed consent of the Client for such exclusion or limitation to be effective.

q)  When offering and providing services which are not regulated by the CLC, you advise your Client of this and inform them in writing that the activity is not covered by CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance or the CLC-administered Compensation Fund.

 r)  Before or when accepting instructions, you inform Clients in writing of the terms on which the instructions are accepted, a complete, accurate estimate of fees and disbursements to be charged and if and when they are likely to change.

s)    You promptly inform the Client in writing of the existence and amount of any sum payable (whether directly or indirectly) as a result of receipt of that Client’s instructions.

t)     With the exception of disbursements, you do not delay completion because fees are outstanding to you.

u)    You discuss and agree with the Client how costs will be paid, whether directly by the Client, by public funding, through an insurance policy or otherwise.

 

Overriding Principle 4. Comply with your duty to the court

Note: this Principle will only be applicable if the CLC’s application to regulate advocacy and litigation services is successful

Outcomes - you must deliver the following Outcomes:

4.1          You act in the interests of justice;

4.2          You act in good faith towards Clients.

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way:

a)      You promote and protect the client’s best interests.

b)      You do not compromise your professional standards or independence.

c)       You assist the court in the administration of justice.

d)       You do not knowingly or recklessly mislead or deceive the court, or allow the court to be misled.

e)       You ensure that the Court is informed of all relevant decisions and legislative provisions (whether this has a favourable or unfavourable effect on the case you are advancing).

f)        You comply with any Court Order (unless an application for a stay is pending or the Order has been revoked by the Court).

g)        You advise your Client to comply with Court Orders and of the consequences of failing to do so.

h)        You properly protect sensitive evidence.

i)         You safeguard the well being of children and other vulnerable persons.

 

Specific Requirement - you must also comply with the following specific requirement:

j)        You ensure that the court is made aware of any relevant legal or factual
      matters which are likely to have a material effect on the outcome of the
      proceedings. 

 

Overriding Principle 5. Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and
co-operative way.

Outcome - you must deliver the following Outcome:

5.1          You act in accordance with your regulatory responsibilities.

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way: 

a)       You are open and honest in your dealings with us.

b)        You comply with the CLC Code of Conduct and the CLC’s other regulatory arrangements.

c)        You comply promptly and fully with a CLC direction or request.

d)        You comply with any authorisation, permission or condition endorsed on your licence, Recognised Body Certificate or Licensed Body Licence.

e)        You co-operate with any CLC investigation.

f)         You co-operate with any Legal Ombudsman investigation.

g)        You comply promptly and fully with any Legal Ombudsman Order.

h)        You co-operate with other regulators and ombudsmen.


Specific Requirements - you must also comply with the following specific requirements:

i)       You make the Compensation Fund contribution determined by the CLC.

j)       You systematically identify, monitor and manage risks to the delivery of this Code’s outcomes.

k)      You promptly notify insurers in writing of any facts or matters which may give
       rise to a claim under CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance.

l)      You promptly notify the CLC in writing of any facts or matters which may give rise to
         a claim under its Compensation Fund.

m)     As a CLC licensee operating in an entity regulated by another regulator you must comply with that regulator’s regulations at all times in a way which is reasonably consistent with this Code.

n)      You obtain permission from the CLC before  offering Reserved legal activities:

  • as a new business;
  • in an entity regulated by another Approved Regulator; or
  • through an entity with a Manager who is not a  CLC Lawyer

0)      You notify the CLC of any material breach of this Code, whether by you, the entity or any other person.

p)      You notify the CLC of a change as set out in the CLC’s Notification Code.  

 

Overriding Principle 6.   Promote equality of access and service.

Outcomes - you must deliver the following Outcomes: -

6.1          The service is accessible and responsive to the needs of individual Clients, including those who are vulnerable;1

6.2          No-one - Client, employee, colleague, job applicant, trainee or other party - you deal with feels discriminated2 against (whether directly or indirectly), victimised or harassed;

6.3          You accept responsibility where the service you provide is not of the expected standard and provide appropriate redress for the Client where necessary;       

6.4          Handling of complaints takes proper account of Clients’ individual needs, including those who are vulnerable;         

6.5         Complaints are dealt with impartially and comprehensively. 

 

Principles - delivery of these Outcomes requires you to act in a principled way: 

a)       You comply with Equalities legislation.

b)        You make reasonable adjustments to prevent persons with disabilities from being
        placed at a substantial disadvantage.

c)        You provide equal opportunities for all partners, employees or applicants in  employment and training.

d)        You make all reasonable efforts to ensure your service is accessible and responsive to Clients, including those with vulnerabilities.

e)        The complaints procedure is clear, well-publicised and free.

f)          You treat complaints seriously and provide appropriate redress options.

g)         You deal with complaints fairly and within 28 days.

h)         You identify and address systemic Client Complaints issues.

Specific Requirements - you must also comply with the following specific requirements.

i)         Any allegation of (direct or indirect) discrimination, victimisation and harassment is investigated thoroughly, resulting, where appropriate, in disciplinary action.

j)        From the outset you advise Clients in writing of their right to make a complaint, how to make it, to whom, and the timeframes involved.

k)       You advise Clients in writing of their right to have their complaint escalated to the Legal Ombudsman and provide them with contact details and timeframes of that body.

l)        You keep a record of complaints received and any action taken as a result.

 

1 a Client may be vulnerable because of a range of characteristics, including (but not limited to): basic skills: literacy and numeracy; complexity and confusion: difficulty of accessing and understanding large amounts of information; disability or other impairment; mental health issues; distress or sudden change in circumstances e.g. bereavement, divorce, illness or loss of employment; low income; age; caring responsibilities; limited knowledge of, or limited skills in, use of English; balance of power: lack of competition and or choice; or inexperience or lack of knowledge of a particular subject. Vulnerability can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

2 On the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or faith, sex or sexual orientation. 

 

Anti-Money Laundering & Combating Terrorist Financing Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.
Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcome:

  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence. (Outcome 2.2)

Combating Money Laundering (AML) and Terrorist Financing (CTF) helps you deliver this Outcome and act in a principled way: 
1.    Act with independence and integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.    You comply with anti-money laundering and prevention of financing terrorism legislation. (CoC P1m)
3.    You systematically identify and mitigate risks to the business and to Clients. (CoC P2f)
4.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)
5.    You maintain proper governance, management, supervision, financial and risk management arrangements and controls. (CoC P2i)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
6.     You have appropriate management arrangements and systems and controls in place to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.
7.     You ensure that management arrangements, systems and controls enable   the identification, assessment, monitoring and management of AML/CTF risk and are appropriate to the nature, scale and complexity of your activities. Any system or product you use must be sufficiently robust to provide the necessary degree of certainty and incorporate qualitative checks that assess the strength of information supplied. It will include data from a range of sources and across time. Your evidence base must be composite and comprehensive.
8.    You carry out regular reviews of the adequacy of management arrangements, systems and controls.
9.      You ensure that, in order to meet your responsibilities under the AML/CTF Legislation your management arrangements, systems and controls include:-
(a) an appropriate AML/CTF policy ;
(b) appropriate and regular training for  employees (of which a record must be kept) in relation to AML/CTF to enable  employees to recognise and deal with transactions and other activities which may be related to AML/CTF;
(c) appropriate internal reporting procedures;
(d) management and retention of records of CDD and information about, suspicion reports received  by the business; 
(e) appropriate measures to ensure that AML/CTF is taken into account in the day to day operation, including the application of appropriate CDD for:-
(i) dealing with existing clients;
(ii) the taking on of new clients;
(iii) dealing with Beneficial Owners;
(iv) incorporating changes in the services  provided;
(f) appropriate CDD measures to ensure that procedures for identifying and verifying new clients and Beneficial Owners do not unreasonably deny access to the  services to potential clients who can not reasonably be expected to produce detailed evidence of identity.
10.      You :-
(a) appoint a Nominated Officer with responsibility to receive suspicion reports and make reports to the National Crime Agency (NCA);
(b) appoint a manager (who may or may not be the Nominated Officer) with responsibility for ensuring the business complies with this Code;
(c) ensure that the Nominated Officer or manager has an appropriate level of authority and independence , and access to resources and information sufficient to enable them to carry out that responsibility.

11.    You:
11.1    establish the Client’s identity, obtaining proof of that identity to establish that a Client is who he says he is and that he lives at the address given;
11.2    obtain confirmation of instructions direct from the Client (and from all other interested parties) wherever possible, particularly where he or they communicate through an intermediary and
    (i) obtain detailed instructions;
(ii) satisfy itself that the Client is not subject to duress or undue influence and
(iii) satisfy itself that the Client is entering into the transaction knowingly;  
11.3    be satisfied that the Client’s economic position, wealth and lifestyle correspond with the proposed transaction; 
11.4    check all signatures to reduce any risk of forgery of the signatures of other interested parties (e.g. a husband who forges his wife’s signature).
12.    Records are stored on Durable Medium.

 


Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Guidance

Accounts Code

To view the printable PDF verison, please click here. 

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.
In the case of an Authorised Person who no longer holds a Licence or Certificate of Recognition, this Code applies as if that Licence or Certificate of Recognition were still in force until such time as any relevant part of this Code has been fully and appropriately complied with.

Outcomes-Focused

  • The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:
  •     Clients receive an honest and lawful service (Outcome 1.2);
  •     Client money is kept separately and safely (Outcome 1.3);
  •     Appropriate arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment are in place to ensure Clients always receive a high standard of service (Outcome 2.3);
  •     Each Client’s best interests are served (Outcome 3.1).

Appropriate handling of Client Money helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:
1.     Act with Independence and Integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.     Maintain High standards of Work. (Overriding Principle 2)
3.     Act in the Best Interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
4.    You keep Client Money Safe. (CoC P1h)
5.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements.(CoC P2g)
6.    You maintain proper governance, management, supervision, financial and risk management arrangements and controls. (CoC P2i)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
7.    You keep Client money entirely separate from your money or the money of the entity. (CoC P1k)
8.    You comply with anti-money laundering and prevention of financing terrorism legislation. (CoC P1m)
9. You:
9.1.1     ensure that your partners, employees and directors (including partners, employees and directors who are not Authorised Persons) comply with this Code;
9.1.2     use each Client’s money only for that Client’s matters;
9.1.3    only pay money into, and withdraw money from, the Client Account and the Office Account for purposes related to the provision of services regulated by the CLC;
9.1.4     establish and maintain proper accounting systems, procedures, processes and internal controls, to ensure compliance with this Code;
9.1.5     ensure there is no debit balance on the client side of a client ledger account nor a credit balance on the office side of a client ledger account;
9.1.6     remedy any breach of these requirements without delay;
9.1.7     account to the Client as soon as possible after completion of any transaction or after a retainer has been terminated.

Payment into Client Account
10.1.     Subject to the provisions of the 10.4 and 11.1 requirements, upon receiving Client Money you pay it into a Client Account without delay.
10.2     Money held in a Client Account is available immediately, even at the sacrifice of interest, unless the Client otherwise instructs.
10.3     Money held in Separate Designated Accounts is not aggregated with money held in other Client

Accounts.
10.4     Only Client Money is paid into or held in a Client Account except:
10.4.1     such money belonging to you as an Authorised Person as may be necessary for the purpose of opening or maintaining the Client Account;
10.4.2     money to replace any sum which for any reason has been or is about to be withdrawn from the account in breach of 12.5, such money then becoming Client Money;
10.4.3     where you receive money and are in doubt as to whether it is wholly Office Money you pay such money into a Client Account and within one calendar month of receipt ascertain and withdraw such part as is Office Money.

Money to be withheld from Client Account
11.1     Notwithstanding the provisions of this Code, you do not pay into a Client Account money:
11.1.1     which a Client instructs you to withhold from such an account, such instruction being either on a Durable Medium from the Client or acknowledged by you on a Durable Medium to the Client; or
11.1.2     which has been withheld from Client Account with the written authorisation of the CLC 
(authority is given only in very exceptional circumstances).

Withdrawal and Transfer from Client Account
12.1     Subject to requirement 12.3, there must be withdrawn from a Client Account:
12.1.1     Without Delay following discovery, money that has been incorrectly paid into it;
12.1.2     as soon as possible and in any event within one calendar month of receipt,
Office Money paid into it in accordance with requirement 10.4.3;
12.1.3     Without Delay Office Money no longer necessary to maintain a Client Account;
12.1.4     within 28 days of the date on which a bill of costs is sent to a Client, money held on account of Costs and Disbursements, provided it is made clear to the Client or the paying party on a Durable Medium either before or at the time the bill of costs is sent that such money will be applied towards or in payment of that bill of costs. (The work for which the money is applied under this requirement must have been completed, whether at the end of a matter or at an interim stage (with the Client’s agreement)).
12.2     In addition to the withdrawals referred to in requirement 12.1 and subject to requirement 12.3, there may only be withdrawn from Client Account money:
12.2.1     properly required for payment to or on behalf of a Client;
12.2.2     properly required for payment of a Disbursement on behalf of a Client;
12.2.3     properly required in full or partial reimbursement of money already expended
               by you out of the Office Account on behalf of a Client;
12.2.4     properly required in full or partial reimbursement of money for which you have incurred a liability to make a payment out of Office Account on behalf of a Client;
12.2.5     which is transferred to another Client Account ;
12.2.6     Where the CLC has given written authority for a specific payment to be made to a nominated payee or where the CLC has approved a scheme for automated payments direct from Client Account.
12.3     Withdrawals out of Client Account under requirements 12.1.4, 12.2.3 and 12.2.4 are specific sums relating to Costs or Disbursements. Round sum withdrawals on account of Costs or Disbursements are not permitted.
12.4     Money withdrawn under 12.1 and 12.2 does not exceed the total of the money held to the credit of both the Client and the Client Account in which the money is held.
12.5     You replace Without Delay any shortfall to a Client or to a Client Account by payment into Client Account under 10.4.2.
12.6     Undrawn Costs or Disbursements must not remain in Client Account either in anticipation of future errors which could result in a shortage on that account or any current shortage on that account and are not available as a set off against any general shortage on Client Account.
12.7     Any withdrawal in your favour is recorded in both the client and office columns of the appropriate client ledger account in accordance with requirement 13.
12.8     Subject to requirement 12.9 a withdrawal from Client Account is made as follows:-
12.8.1     cheques or other written instructions for withdrawal from Client bank account are signed by an Approved Person;
12.8.2     where CHAPS terminals or other electronic systems are used to withdraw monies from Client bank account and authority has not been given in accordance with requirement 12.8.3, such systems are operated by an Approved Person;
12.8.3     where payments are authorised electronically, such authority is only given by
an Approved Person. 
12.9     Authority in accordance with requirement 12.8 is not required for the transfer of money from one Client Account to another Client Account at the same Bank or Building Society except where either is a Separate Designated Account. (Authority for any such transfer is required in accordance with requirement 12.8).
12.10     A transfer of money from the ledger account of one Client to that of another Client is only made if it would have been permissible under this Code for the money to be withdrawn from Client Account in the case of the first Client and for the money to be paid into Client Account in the case of the second Client.
12.11     A withdrawal from a Client Account in your favour is by way of a cheque to you or by way of a transfer to your Office Account.
12.12     Withdrawals in cash from a Client Account are not permitted.
12.13     Except with the prior written authority of both Clients no sum in respect of a Private Loan from one Client to another is paid out of funds held for the lender:
12.13.1 to the borrower directly; or
12.13.2 by a payment from one Client Account to another; or
12.13.3 by a transfer from the ledger account of the lender to that of the borrower;
12.14     All monies held in the Client Account are paid to the Rightful Recipient as soon as there is no longer any proper reason to retain these funds.

Accounting Records
13.1     You update Accounting Records at least once a week and ensure they are properly written up to show clearly all dealings with:
13.1.1     Client Money received, held or paid, including Client Money withheld from a Client Account under 11.1; and
13.1.2     Office Money and any other monies received, held or paid in any Office Account.
13.2     Accounting Records are sufficient to:
13.2.1     show and explain accurately every transaction relating to each Client;
13.2.2     disclose at any time total indebtedness to each Client and also each Client’s total indebtedness to you/the entity.
13.3     All dealings with Client Money are appropriately recorded:
13.3.1     In a client cash account or in a record of sums transferred from one client ledger
              account to another; and
13.3.2     on the client side of a separate client ledger account for each Client or for
each Client matter;
13.3.3     with sufficient narrative on the ledger and cash account to explain each entry.

13.4     If Separate Designated Accounts are used:
13.4.1     a combined cash account must be kept in order to show the total amount held in Separate Designated Accounts; and
13.4.2     a record of the amount held for each Client must be made either in a deposit column of   a client ledger account, or on the client side of a client ledger account kept specifically for a Separate Designated Account, for each Client;
13.4.3     upon receipt of information that interest has been credited to the Separate Designated Account, corresponding entries must be made in the Accounting Records.
13.5     The current balance on each client and office ledger account is shown, or is readily ascertainable, from Accounting Records kept in accordance with this Code.
13.6     All dealings with Office Money relating to any Client must be appropriately recorded in an office cash account and on the office side of the appropriate client ledger account.
13.7     When acting for both lender and borrower in a mortgage transaction between them, separate client ledger accounts for both Clients need not be opened provided that the funds belonging to each Client are clearly identifiable and the lender is an institutional lender which provides mortgages in the normal course of its activities.
13.8     You retain on a Durable Medium a central record or file of copies of all bills of costs distinguishing in each bill between Costs, paid Disbursements and Disbursements not yet paid at the date of the bill and VAT.

Reconciliations
13.9     At least once in each calendar month you:
13.9.1     prepare a bank reconciliation statement by comparing the balance on the client cash account with the balances shown on the client bank statements and passbooks (after allowing for all unpresented items) of all Client Accounts and Separate Designated Accounts and any Client Money held by you/the entity in cash;
13.9.2     as at the same date prepare a listing of all the balances shown by the client and office ledger accounts and compare the total of the client ledger credit balances with the balance on the client bank reconciliation statement; and
13.9.3     prepare a reconciliation statement showing the cause of the differences (if any) shown by each of the above comparisons.
13.10     The steps required under requirement 13.9 are:
13.10.1  prepared to a date not more than five weeks after the date to which they were last prepared; and
13.10.2 completed within 7 days of the date to which they are prepared.
13.11     Records maintained in accordance with requirements 13.1 to 13.9 are kept separate from those for any other business. Where the accounts of more than one business are maintained on the same system, they are capable of being reproduced independently by the system.
13.12     You have immediate and unrestricted access to the Accounting Records.

Retention of Records
13.13     You retain on a Durable Medium for at least six years from the date of the last entry all documents or other records required by requirement 13.1 to 13.9.
13.14     You retain for at least two years:
13.14.1 all paid cheques, unless any relevant Bank or Building Society has agreed it will retain such cheques or copies of the cheques on a Durable Medium on your behalf for that period; and
13.14.2 originals or copies of all other authorities for the withdrawal of money from the Client Account.
13.15     All statements and passbooks, as printed by the Bank or Building Society for Client Accounts, Separate Designated Accounts, accounts in which Client Money has been held and any Office Account is retained for at least six years from the date of the last entry.

Misappropriation of Clients’ Money
13.16     Upon discovery of any misappropriation of Client Money you notify the CLC Without Delay. (The shortfall caused by the misappropriation must be rectified Without Delay by payment into Client Account in accordance with requirement 10.4.2).

CLC Monitoring
14.1     In order to monitor compliance with the CLC’s Code, at the time and place determined by the CLC, you produce all information held on a Durable Medium relating to the business (to include his Accounting Records, papers, files and financial accounts) as would be reasonably required to enable the preparation of a report. 
14.2     For the purposes of requirement 14.1, you hold Accounting Records on a Durable Medium and produce/make these available to the CLC’s appointee in the manner required by the CLC.
14.3     The CLC is entitled to seek verification from your Clients, staff and Banks or Building Societies. If necessary, you provide written permission for such information to be given. 
14.4     If you do not give the CLC permission to remove original documents from your premises, you provide us with photocopies on our request.

Deposit Interest
15.1     When holding Client Money in a Client Account or which should have been paid into a Client Account, subject to 15.3 you must account to the Client for any interest earned or which should have been earned on such money. 
15.2     If the CLC directs pursuant to paragraph 22 of Schedule 8 to the 1990 Act that such a sum should be paid, you pay to the Client the amount directed within fifteen days of the CLC sending notification of that direction.     
15.3     You provide sufficient information in writing to enable the Client to give informed consent in writing if it is felt appropriate to depart from requirement 15.1. This includes expressly drawing the Client’s attention to any contracting out provision which may be contained in terms of engagement.

Accountant’s Reports
16.1     If you have at any time during an Accounting Period held or received Client Money you procure the delivery by the Reporting Accountant to the CLC of an Accountant’s Report for that period.
16.2     The Accountant’s Report is delivered to the CLC within six months of the end of the Accounting Period except that, where on the date of coming into force of this Code, the Accounting Period has already ended. The form of the Accountant’s Report to be delivered shall be that prescribed by this Code. 
16.3     If you have two or more places of business and choose separate Accounting Periods for these, you provide a separate Accountant’s Report for each place of business. 
16.4     You immediately notify the CLC of any changes to the identity, address and other relevant details of the Reporting Accountant.
16.5     Subject to Requirement 16.7 the Reporting Accountant is qualified to sign and give an Accountant’s Report on behalf of an Authorised Person if he is a member of an accountancy body recognised by the CLC and holds a current practising certificate issued by that body when he signs the report.

Requirements to be qualified to certify Accountant’s Reports
16.6.     The Accountant’s Report is certified by a member of one of the following accountancy bodies:
(a) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
(b) the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland;
(c) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland;
(d) the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants;
(e) the Association of Authorised Public Accountants.
16.7    The Accountant’s Report is not certified by an accountant who:-
16.7.1     either at any time between the beginning of the Accounting Period to which the Accountant’s Report relates and the signing of the Accountant’s Report they were a partner, employee or officer in the entity to which the Accountant’s Report relates or was employed by the same employer as the Authorised Person for whom the Accountant’s Report is given; or
16.7.2     they have been disqualified by the CLC and have been given by the CLC notice of disqualification which has not been withdrawn.
16.8     You ensure that your Reporting Accountant’s rights and duties are stated in terms of engagement, which include the terms set out in the Schedule. The terms of engagement and a copy are signed by both you and the Reporting Accountant and you retain the copy.
16.9     The Reporting Accountant examines your Accounting Records and other relevant documents at your office, not their own, and does not remove any original records from the premises.
16.10      You provide the Reporting Accountant with details of all accounts kept or operated by you in connection with your entity at any Bank or Building Society at any time during the Accounting Period to which the Accountant’s Report relates, including Client Accounts, Office Accounts and accounts which are not Client Accounts but which contain Client Money.
16.11     The Reporting Accountant examines your Accounting Records to ensure compliance with this Code and carries out the checks and tests as prescribed on the CLC website and Management Information System. 
16.12     The Reporting Accountant signs and delivers to the CLC the Accountant’s Report together with the completed checklist in the form prescribed by the CLC.
General Saving Provisions
17.1     When acting on a Client’s instructions, you have the general right on the grounds of Client privilege to decline to produce any document the Reporting Accountant requests for examination purposes. Where such a refusal occurs, the Reporting Accountant must qualify his Accountant’s Report and include an explanation for such qualification.

Reporting Accountant’s Terms of Engagement - Schedule 1
18.1    The terms on which you instruct a Reporting Accountant include the following:-
18.2     ‘In accordance with the CLC Accounts Code you are instructed:
18.2.1     to conduct tests and checks prescribed by the CLC;
18.2.2    to sign and deliver to the CLC the Accountant’s Report together with the completed checklist in accordance with requirement 16.11; and provide me with a copy;
18.2.3    to report directly to the CLC without prior reference to me/this firm/this company if, in the course of carrying out work in preparation of the accountant’s report, you discover evidence of theft or fraud affecting client money or information which is likely to be of material significance in determining whether I am/this entity is a fit and proper person to hold client money;
18.2.4     to report directly to the CLC should your appointment be terminated following the issue of, or the indication of intention to issue, a qualified Accountant’s Report or following the raising of concerns prior to the preparation of an Accountant’s Report;
18.2.5    to retain these terms of engagement for at least two years after termination of the retainer and to produce them to the CLC on request; and
18.2.6     following any report made to the CLC under 18.2.2- 18.2.4, to provide to the CLC on request any further relevant information in your possession or in the possession of your firm.
18.3    By accepting instructions under requirement 16 of the Accounts Code you agree that:-
18.3.1     the CLC will rely upon the content of your Report,
18.3.2     a duty of care is owed by you to the CLC; and
18.3.3    your liability to the CLC will be limited to the loss and costs suffered by the CLC arising from items which you have negligently or fraudulently failed to specify in your Report.
18.4    To the extent necessary to enable you to comply with the preceding paragraphs, I/We waive my/the firm’s/the company’s right of confidentiality. This waiver extends to any report made, document produced or information disclosed to the CLC in good faith in accordance with these instructions, even though it may subsequently transpire that you were mistaken in your belief that there was cause for concern’.

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Accounts Guidance.

Conflicts of Interest Code

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In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •    Each Client’s best interests are served; (Outcome 3.1)
  •     Clients have the information they need to make informed decisions; (Outcome 3.3) 
  •     Clients are aware of any limitation or any condition resulting from your relationship with another party. (Outcome 3.5)


The prevention, detection and mitigation of conflicts of interests help you deliver these Outcomes and act in a principled way:
 1.     Act with Independence and Integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.    Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
3.    You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b)
4.    You do not act for a Client where you judge it is not in their best interest for you to do so. (CoC 3c)
 5.    You do not accept instructions from a person nor continue to act for a Client whose interests conflict directly with your own, the entity’s, or another Client. (CoC P3d)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
6.    Where the entity represents parties with different interests in any transaction each party is at all times represented by different Authorised Persons conducting themselves in the matter as though they were members of different entities. (CoC P3n)
7.    Before or when accepting instructions to act for a second Client you inform each Client in writing that the body has been asked to act for another Client in the same matter and you explain the relevant issues and risks to them.
8.    You only act for both Clients if each Client has provided informed written consent that you may act for another Client in the matter.
9.    You do not act, or do not continue to act, for a Client where your ability to give independent advice is in any way restricted.  This may arise if:
(a) you owe separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict, or there is a significant risk that those duties may conflict;  or 
(b) your duty to act in the best interests of any client in relation to a matter conflicts, or there is a significant risk that it may conflict, with your own interests in relation to that or a related matter. 
10.     If a conflict arises which was or should have been foreseen, you do not charge either Client a fee for the work undertaken (other than for disbursements properly incurred).
11.    As an exception to requirement 6, and provided no conflict of interest arises, if you are a body with only one Authorised Person you may act for more than one Client where one of the Clients is a lender providing mortgages in the normal course of its business activities.

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Conflicts of Interest Guidance

Continuing Professional Development Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.
Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients are provided with a high standard of legal service (Outcome 2.1);
  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence (Outcome 2.2);
  •     Appropriate arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment are in place to ensure Clients always receive a high standard of service (Outcome 2.3);
  •     Each client’s best interests are served (Outcome 3.1).

Keeping your legal knowledge up-to-date and relevant helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:
1.    Maintain High Standards of Work. (Overriding Principle 2)
2.    Act in the Best Interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
3.    You keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date. (CoC P2b)
4.    You ensure all individuals within the entity are competent to do their work. (CoC P2c)    

5.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)
6.    You only accept instructions and act in relation to matters which are within your professional competence. (CoC P3a)
7.    You provide equal opportunities for all partners, employees or applicants in employment and training. (CoC P6c)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
8.     In each year in which you hold a licence you complete Continuing Professional Development in such courses, lectures, seminars or other programmes or other activities approved by the CLC.
9.    You are able to demonstrate that the subject matter of the course or activity is relevant to your professional development or area of practice and to help you deliver positive Outcomes to your Clients.  
10.    Each year you inform the CLC - in such form as the CLC may from time to time prescribe - whether or not you have complied with the CLC’s requirements for continuing professional development as they apply to you.
11.    You keep an up-to-date training record. You provide the CLC with this record upon its request.
12.    You attend, and pay to attend, a specific course that the CLC has directed you to attend (as an alternative to disciplinary action). 

Dealing with Non-Authorised Persons Code

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 In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code. In the context of this Code the Non-Authorised Person refers to the party on the other side of a transaction.        

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients receive an honest and lawful service; (Outcome 1.2)
  •     Clients are provided with a high standard of legal services; (Outcome 2.1)
  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skills and diligence; (Outcome 2.2)
  •     Each Client’s best interests are served; (Outcome 3.1)
  •     Clients are aware of any limitation or any condition resulting from your relationship with another party. (Outcome 3.5)


Demonstrating probity in your dealings with Non-Authorised Person third parties helps you deliver these Outcomes and act in a principled way:
1.    Maintain High Standards of Work. (Overriding Principle 2)
2.    Act in the Best Interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
3.    You do not conduct yourself in a manner which may result in a breach of the law nor in any other manner which may bring the legal profession into disrepute. (CoC P1c)    
4.    You do not take unfair advantage of any person, whether or not a Client of the business. (CoC P1l)
5.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)
6.    You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b) 

You must also comply with the following specific requirements:
7.     You do not have dealings with any Non-Authorised Person carrying on reserved legal activities including conveyancing (unless there is clear evidence that person is an exempt person (see schedule 3 2007 Act).
8.     You report to the CLC (without submitting your transaction file) where a Non-Authorised Person is carrying on reserved legal activities, including conveyancing, which appears to be or to have been a breach of s.14-16 2007 Act.

Dealing with Non-Authorised Persons
9.     You :-
(a) avoid extending your duty of care to persons who are not Clients by seeking to ensure that, to your knowledge, you do not provide legal advice (in the circumstances provided by Hedley Byrne v Heller [1964] AC 465) on which they may seek to rely;
(b) not accept any undertaking which a non-Authorised Third Person may offer in the course of a transaction;
(c) incorporate special provisions into the draft contract to take account of the problems which arise because the other party has no Authorised Person acting (see below);
(d) ensure that any power of attorney is valid, properly granted and effective for all relevant purposes;
(e) advise the client in writing that you are dealing with a Non-Authorised Person Party and explain all the steps which are being taken to protect the client’s position.

Acting for the Lender
10.     You do not give the unqualified agent additional assistance in a way which might establish a Authorised Person/client relationship either with the Non-Authorised Person or with the borrower, or leave you open to a negligence claim either from your lender client or from the borrower.
11.     You comply with s. 69 Law of Property Act 1925, by allowing mortgage advances to be paid only to those properly entitled to receive them. 
12.     You ensure that on completion, any payments are sent to a named bank or building society account held by you, an Authorised Person, licensed body or their clients, and not to some intermediate party. 

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Dealing with Non-Authorised Persons (third parties) Code & Guidance.

Disclosure of Profits and Advantage Code

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In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.


Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients receive good quality independent information, representation and advice; (Outcome    1.1) 
  •     Clients receive an honest and lawful service; (Outcome 1.2)
  •     Clients have the information they need to make informed decisions; (Outcome 3.3)
  •     Clients are aware of any referral arrangements and that they are consistent with your  responsibilities both to them and to the CLC. (Outcome 3.4) 


Transparent referral arrangements help you deliver these Outcomes and act in a principled way:
1.     Act with independence and integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.     Maintain high standards of work. (Overriding Principle 2)
3.    Act in the best interests of Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
4.    You do not allow your independence to be compromised. (CoC P1a)
5.    You act honestly, professionally and decently. (CoC P1b)
6.    You do not conduct yourself in a manner which may result in a breach of the law nor in any other manner which may bring the legal profession into disrepute. (CoC P1c) 
7.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)    
8.    You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b)
9.    You only recommend a particular person, business or product when it is in the best interests of the Client. (CoC P3f) 
10.    You provide the Client with all relevant information relating to any fee arrangements or fee changes. (CoC P3j) 
11.    Where the entity represents parties with different interests in any transaction each party is at all times represented by different Authorised Persons conducting themselves in the matter as though they were members of different entities. (CoC P3n)
12.    Where you enter into an arrangement, including any fee sharing agreement, with an introducer, the agreement is in writing.
13.    You periodically review referral arrangements/fees to deliver the Outcomes identified at the outset of this Code.
14.    You inform the Client in writing of the existence of the referral arrangement no later than when accepting instructions, or when introducing a Client to another person.
15.    You advise the Client that they have a choice of provider.
16.    You inform the Client of the nature of the arrangement (including any payment made), with whom it is made, and any impact (including any legal costs they are charged). 

Equality Code

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In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     The service is accessible and responsive to the needs of individual Clients, including those who are vulnerable; (Outcome 6.1) 1 
  •     No-one – Client, employee, colleague, job applicant, trainee, or other party – you deal with feels discriminated against (whether directly or indirectly), victimised or harassed. (Outcome 6.2) 2 

Accessible employment and business arrangements help you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:
1.    Promote Equality of Access & Service. (Principle 6)
2.    You comply with relevant Equalities legislation. (CoC P6a)
3.    You make reasonable adjustments to prevent persons with disabilities from being placed at disadvantage. (CoC P6b)
4.    You provide equal opportunities for all partners, employees or applicants in employment and training. (CoC P6c)
5.    You make all reasonable efforts to ensure your service is accessible and responsive to Clients, including those with vulnerabilities. (CoC P6d)

You must also comply with the following specific requirement: 
6.    Any allegation of (direct or indirect) discrimination, victimisation and harassment is investigated thoroughly, resulting, where appropriate in disciplinary action. (CoC P6i)
1 a Client may be vulnerable because of a range of characteristics, including (but not limited to): basic skills: literacy and numeracy; complexity and confusion; difficulty of accessing and understanding large amounts of information; disability or other impairment; mental health issues; distress or sudden change in circumstances e.g. bereavement, divorce, illness or loss of employment; low income; age; caring responsibilities; limited knowledge of, or limited skills in, use of English; balance of power; lack of competition and choice; or inexperience or lack of knowledge of a particular subject. Vulnerability can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 
2 On the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or faith, sex or sexual orientation.  

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Equality Guidance.

 

Estimates and Terms of Engagement Code

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In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients receive good quality independent information, representation and advice; (Outcome 1.1)
  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence; (Outcome 2.2)
  •     Clients have the information they need to make informed decisions. (Outcome 3.3) 


Providing timely Estimates and Terms of Engagement which are easy to understand helps you deliver these Outcomes and to act in a principled way:
1.    Act with independence and integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.    Maintain high standards of work. (Overriding Principle 2)
3.    Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3
4.    You act honestly, professionally and decently. (CoC P1b)
5.    You do not give false or misleading information relating to the provision of Regulated Services. (CoC P1e)
6.    You promptly advise Clients of any significant changes to projected costs, timelines and strategies. (CoC P3m)
7.    Where the entity represents parties with different interests in any transaction each party is at all times represented by different Authorised Persons conducting themselves in the matter as though they were members of different entities. (CoC P3n)


You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
Estimates 

8.     Any estimate of costs is stored on a Durable Medium and states:-
8.1     the name of the Client, and the nature of the transaction;
8.2     the basis on which fees for abortive work will be payable;
8.3     the proposed fees and other expenses (such as bank transfer fees) payable to you (such fees and other expenses are deemed to be inclusive of VAT unless VAT is separately itemised);
8.4     any disbursement likely be incurred on the basis of the instructions received (such disbursements are deemed to be inclusive of VAT unless VAT is separately itemised);
8.5     where the total sum payable as estimated under paragraph 8.3 is likely to be exceeded that the Body will advise the Client of that fact and provide an explanation and a revised estimate;
8.6     in respect of paragraphs 8.3 and 8.4:
8.6.1     unless otherwise stated fees will be deemed to be inclusive of the costs of post, telephone calls, facsimile communications and email;
8.6.2     unless separately specified, the estimate of proposed fees payable to the body will be deemed to include fees for:-

  •     representation of the lender;
  •     service of notices on a landlord or management company.

8.6.3     the Client is advised where it is not possible to provide an estimate of fees and disbursements because the relevant information is not available.
9.     If it becomes apparent that the total sum payable as estimated under paragraph 8 is likely to be exceeded or that the relevant information has become available, as soon as practicable you:-
9.1     advise the Client; and
9.2     provide the Client with a written explanation on a Durable Medium.
10.     Any fees, expenses, disbursements and VAT to be charged in respect of an abortive transaction are notified to the Client on a Durable Medium as soon as those matters can reasonably be calculated whether or not an invoice is delivered at this time.

Terms of Engagement
11.     You provide Clients with Terms of Engagement with a request that the Client confirms their agreement to the terms.
12.     The Terms of Engagement summarise the nature of instructions and with sufficient clarity so as to be readily understandable to the Client.
13.     The Terms of Engagement include:-
13.1     your name, address, telephone and other contact details;
13.2     if not included in paragraph 13.1, the name of one of your Managers;
13.3     the name of the individual having day-to-day conduct of the matter and where applicable the name of the individual responsible for its overall supervision;
13.4     if the matter is to be conducted by a team, the identity of that team and the name of its leader(s);
13.5     the name of the individual to whom any complaint should be made;
13.6     an explanation of the procedure to be adopted where the Client is dissatisfied with the services or conduct of any of your Managers or employees.  This information must also include the Client’s right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman at the conclusion of the complaint process, the time limits for doing so and full details about how to contact the Legal Ombudsman (see Complaints Code).

13.7     the following wording:-
‘’If you make a valid claim against us for a loss arising out of work for which we are legally responsible, and we are unable to meet our liability in full, you may be entitled to claim from the Compensation Fund administered by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (from whom details can be obtained”).
13.8     You keep a copy of, and any evidence that the Client has agreed, the estimate and Terms of Engagement on a Durable Medium.

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Estimates and Terms of Engagement Guidance

Management and Supervision Arrangements Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients are provided with a high standard of legal services (Outcome 2.1);
  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence; (Outcome 2.2)
  •     Appropriate arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment are in place to ensure Clients always receive a high standard of service. (Outcome 2.3)


Appropriate management and supervision arrangements help you deliver these Outcomes and require you to act in a principled way:
1.    Maintain high standards of work. (Overriding Principle 2)
2.    You ensure all individuals within the entity are competent to do their work. (CoC P2c)    
3.    You supervise and regularly check the quality of work in Client matters. (CoC P2d)
4.    You systematically identify and mitigate risks to the business and to Clients. (CoC P2f)
5.    You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)
6.    You enable staff to raise concerns which are acted on appropriately. (CoC P2h)
7.    You maintain proper governance, management, supervision, financial and risk management arrangements and controls. (CoC P2i) 
8.    You maintain proper records to evidence your arrangements and how they are applied. (CoC P2o)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
9.     A Manager who is an Authorised Person is responsible for ensuring that all of the entity’s employees are properly supervised. (CoC P2m)
10.    You make provision for alternative supervision arrangements in case of illness, accident or other unforeseen event. (CoC P2n)
11.    You systematically identify, monitor and manage risks to the delivery of this Code’s [the Code of Conduct] Outcomes.  (CoC P5j)

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Management and Supervision Arrangements Guidance.

Notification Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused

The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcome:

  • You act in accordance with your regulatory responsibilities. (Outcome 5.1)

Making sure both you and the CLC are aware of any notifiable changes helps you identify any potential threats to the delivery of all Code of Conduct Outcomes as well as helping you deliver the Outcome above. This requires you to act in a principled way:

1.            Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way. (Overriding Principle 5)

2.            You notify the CLC of any material breach of this Code [Code of Conduct], whether by you, the entity or any other person. (CoC P5o)

3.            You notify the CLC of a change as set out in the CLC’s Notification Code. (CoC P5p)

4.            You have systems and controls to enable you to identify any notifiable changes.

These responsibilities require you to notify us of any of the following changes:

5.            To the extent it is reasonable to do so, you notify us no less than 14 days before a proposed change of business or registered office address, but in any event within 14 days of any change occurring.

6.            You notify us within 14 days of any change in manager and/or management arrangements.

7.            You notify us within 14 days of a change in structural arrangements.

8.            In respect of the body you notify us within 7 days if:

  • a winding-up order or administration order is passed
  • a resolution for voluntary winding-up is passed, or
  • an administration receiver is appointed.

 

CLC Lawyers  

9.            You notify us promptly if you:-

  • have been a director of a company which has gone into liquidation on the grounds of insolvency in your own right or as a director of a company have had an administrator or receiver appointed
  • have been a CLC Lawyer in, or Manager of, an entity which has had its authorisation refused, revoked or made subject to conditions
  • have been charged, cautioned or convicted of a criminal offence, or if there is a case pending
  • have been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings by a professional or regulatory body
  • have been the subject of an adverse order or finding of a civil court or employment tribunal
  • have been disqualified as a director
  • have been declared bankrupt or have entered an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  • have been disqualified from acting in any capacity for a legal services, financial or other provider
  • are aware of any other information which could reasonably be expected to have a bearing on whether you are fit and proper.

 

Recognised Bodies        

10.          You notify us promptly after you have received information where any of the provisions identified in requirement 9 apply to a Manager of the body.

 

11.          You notify us promptly of a change in ownership[1] of the body.

 

12.          You notify us promptly after you have received information that a person employed or paid by the Recognised Body to provided reserved legal activities:  

  • has been charged, cautioned or convicted of a criminal offence, or if there is a case pending
  • has been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings by a professional or regulatory body
  • has been the subject of an adverse order or finding of a civil court or employment tribunal
  • has been disqualified as a director
  • has been declared bankrupt or has entered an Individual Voluntary  arrangement
  • has been disqualified from acting in any capacity for a legal services, financial or other provider
  • is the subject of any other information which could reasonably be expected to have a bearing on whether that person is fit and proper.

 

Licensed Bodies (ABS)

13.          To the extent it is reasonable to do so, you notify us no less than 14 days before a proposed change in the person occupying the role of HoLP or HoFA, but in any event within 7 days of any change occurring.

14.          You notify us promptly after you have received information about any ‘fit and proper’ issue concerning the owner(s), the HoLP, HoFA, other Managers or Authorised Persons:

  • has been a director of a company which has gone into liquidation on the grounds of insolvency
  • in their own right or as a director of a company has had an administrator or receiver appointed
  • has been an Authorised Person in, or Manager of, an entity which has had its authorisation refused, revoked or made subject to conditions
  • has been charged, cautioned or convicted of a criminal offence, or if there is a case pending
  • has been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings by a professional or regulatory body
  • has been the subject of an adverse order or finding of a civil court or employment tribunal
  • has been disqualified as a director
  • has been declared bankrupt or has entered an Individual Voluntary Arrangement
  • has been disqualified from acting in any capacity for a legal services, financial or other provider
  • is the subject of any other information which could reasonably be expected to have a bearing on whether that person is fit and proper.


15.          You notify us promptly if you employ a person disqualified by a Licensing Authority.

16.          You notify us promptly if a Non-Authorised Person proposing to hold a material interest of 10% or more, or the holder of a material interest proposing to acquire an additional kind of interest, fails to give notification of such intended change after having been made aware of their duty to notify.

Notification Guidance

1.            Provision of adverse information under this Code does not necessarily mean we will withdraw our approval of the relevant individual. Where adverse information is provided it will be discussed with the body to determine the risk posed to the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes; resource implications for the CLC; and the individual/body’s willingness or capacity to address the issue.

2.            Examples of what is meant by ‘any other information that could reasonably be expected to have a bearing on their being fit and proper’ under requirement 14 include:

  • by a reason of character, conduct or association and in particular has been in breach of statutory requirements regarding payment of tax or for a licence
  • lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and powers under sections 15 to 20 or section 48 have been exercised.

3.            An example of what is meant by ‘structural arrangements’ under requirement 7 is a body no longer registered as a Limited Liability Partnership or a Company under the relevant Acts.

4.            Persons disqualified by Licensing Authorities are identified on the Legal Services Board website.

 

[1] As per item 33 of the Recognised Body Recognition Framework

33 of the Recognised Body Recognition Framework

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Notification Guidance. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  • Each Client’s best interests are served; (Outcome 3.1)
  • You act in accordance with your regulatory responsibilities. (Outcome 5.1)

 

Providing clients with access to appropriate redress helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:

1. Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)

2. Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way. (Overriding Principle 5)

3. You only accept instructions and act in relation to matters which are within your professional competence. (CoC P3a)

4. You only provide Regulated Services whilst you have CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance in force. (CoC P3i)

5. You ensure there are adequate indemnity arrangements in respect of claims made against you for work carried out by you before you ceased to practice by taking out professional indemnity insurance for a minimum period of 6 years from the expiry of the period of professional indemnity insurance stated in your evidence of insurance or policy document. (CoC P3o)

6. If you seek to exclude or limit liability, you do so only to the extent that such exclusion or limitation is above the minimum level of cover afforded by CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance; you must obtain the written informed consent of the Client for such exclusion or limitation to be effective. (CoC P3p)

You must also comply with the following specific requirements:

7. When providing services which are not regulated by the CLC, you advise your Client of this and inform them in writing that the activity is not covered by CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance or the CLC-administered Compensation Fund. (CoC P3q)

8. You promptly notify insurers in writing of any facts or matters which may give rise to a claim under CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance. (CoC P5k)

Professional Indemnity Insurance

9. When providing CLC-regulated services you must have professional indemnity insurance in place at all times, which complies with the minimum requirements of Article 3 IMD and the CLC’s PII Policy Wording.

10. You must:

10.1 Pay the applicable annual premium for professional indemnity insurance;

10.2 Comply with the professional indemnity insurance terms as apply to you;

10.3 Comply with the Self Insured Excess policy (set out at 13) and such other policies as the CLC may issue;

10.4 Produce a current Evidence of Insurance when requested by the CLC;

10.5 Permit the Participating Insurers or the Brokers to notify the CLC should any circumstances arise whereby the Participating Insurers or the Brokers consider that the body has failed to comply with their responsibilities as a CLC body or when any Evidence of Insurance is avoided.

European Union (EU) Bodies – if you are a European Lawyer

11. If on application:

11.1 you satisfy the CLC that the EU body (of which you are a Manager) has EU Professional Cover which complies with the CLC’s PII Policy Wording in all its conditions and cover then the EU body will be exempted from obligation to comply with requirement 10.1 whilst the EU Professional Cover (and any agreement with the cover provider) remains in force and is complied with;

11.2 you satisfy the CLC that the EU body (of which you are a Manager) has Partial EU Professional Cover then the EU body and its Managers shall be exempted from the obligation to comply with regulation 10.1 whilst the Partial EU Professional Cover (and any agreement with the cover provider) and a Supplemental Policy remain in force and is complied with.

Claims

12. In the event of a professional indemnity insurance claim you produce any information the CLC deems appropriate within five working days of the CLC’s information request.

Self Insured Excess

13.1 Should your self-insured Excess exceed:

(1) £3,500 or

(2) the sum of the following:

(i) 5% Fees (as defined in the CLC’s PII Policy Wording) where the Fees are

no more than £200,000; plus

(ii) 3% Fees on Fees between £200,001 and £500,000; plus

(iii) 2% Fees on Fees between £500,001 and £1,000,000;

you report this to the CLC. The CLC will need to be satisfied that the body will avoid additional exposure of the CLC’s Compensation Fund to unpaid excesses.

13.2 If you are satisfied that the body you manage has the ability to meet additional liability over and above this you may make a specific application to the CLC to increase the self-insured Excess where Fees are greater than £1,000,000.

13.3 Your application outlines how the body intends to meet the obligation to avoid additional exposure of the CLC’s Compensation Fund to unpaid excesses.

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Professional Indemnity Insurance Guidance

1. A Licence will not be issued to a Manager unless the applicable Evidence of Insurance for your Body has been produced to the CLC.

2. As a guide to the provisions under requirement 13 a body should be able to demonstrate it can fund the self insured excess for no less than two claims per year.

Examples of Limits on Self Insured Excess:

• Fees £250,000 Maximum Excess = £200,000 X 5% + £50,000 X 3% = £11,500

• Fees £600,000 Maximum Excess = £200,000 X 5% + £300,000 X 3% + £100,000 X 2% = £21,000

• Fees £900,000 Maximum Excess = £200,000 X 5% + £300,000 X 3% + £400,000 X 2% = £27,000

3. We would remind you of your responsibility under the Provision Of Services Regulations 2009 to make the following ‘available’: contact details for the Professional Indemnity Insurance provider, and the geographic coverage of that PII. It is at your discretion as to how make this available e.g. given in writing to the client at the outset, hard copy at the firm’s offices, on website, or in documents provided to the client during a transaction etc.’

 

Transaction Files Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.


Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Each Client’s best interests are served; (Outcome 3.1)
  •     Clients’ affairs are treated confidentially (except as required or permitted by law or with the Client’s consent). (Outcome 3.6)


Appropriate standards of document provision help you deliver these Outcomes and require you to act in a principled way:
1.    Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3) 
2.    You disclose client information only as the Client has instructed (or as required by the CLC’s regulatory arrangements or by law), keeping effective records of any disclosure you make. (CoC OP3e)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 

File 
3.    When a request for a transaction file, or part of it, is made on behalf of a Client, lender or third party you must determine the ownership of the various papers in the file and provide the person making the request only with the documents they own or are entitled to, or entitled to only with the Client’s permission.
4.    Where the Client’s permission is required you must not provide the papers to the person making the request until you have obtained the Client’s consent or been served with a court order in appropriate terms.
Joint retainers – joint Clients
5.    Originals are handed to one Client only with the consent of the other Client.
6.    You provide each Client with a copy without charge. 
7.    You release copies to third parties only with the consent of all Clients.
Joint retainers –Client and lender
8.    You may charge a lender for a copy of a document if you require the borrower Client’s consent to provide the lender with a copy. 


Retention of file contents
9.    You retain the contents of files relating to all matters for a minimum of six years, except those relating to:
•    other conveyancing matters (other than the sale of property) for a minimum of fifteen years
•    wills for a minimum of six years after the testator has died, and
•    probate matters for a minimum of six years from the end of the executor’s year.

10.    Consideration should be given on a case by case basis as to the appropriate date of destructions for the contents of files relating to:

  •     deeds of gift
  •     gifts of land
  •     transfers at an undervalue
  •     right to buy where funds came from someone other than the purchasing tenant(s)
  •     lifetime gifts.

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Transactions File Guidance.

Undertakings Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused 
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcome:

  •     Client matters are dealt with using care, skill and diligence. (Outcome 2.2)

Transparency and probity in undertakings helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:
1.    Maintain high standards of work. (Overriding Principle 2)
2.    You comply fully with any undertaking given by you. (CoC P2e)
3.    You only accept instructions and act in relation to matters which are within your professional competence. (CoC P3a)
4.    You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
5.    You deliver services in accordance with timetables reasonably agreed with the Client. (CoC P2k)
6.    You consult Clients on key decisions in a timely way. (CoC P3l)
7.    You promptly advise Clients of any significant changes to projected costs, timelines and strategies. (CoC P3m) 
8.     All Managers are equally responsible for the performance of undertakings given in a body’s name and remain responsible for their performance even after they have left the body or it has been dissolved.
9.    You do not breach an undertaking. Only the person entitled to the benefit of the undertaking or the Court may release you/the body from an undertaking.
10.    You do not avoid liability on an undertaking by asserting that to comply with it would be a breach of duty owed to the Client.
11.     Where you have given an undertaking to redeem a mortgage or charge you   redeem it immediately following completion of the transaction occasioning the redemption.
12.     In an undertaking to pay money out of the proceeds of sale of a property it is not implied that the undertaking is intended to take effect only if you receive the proceeds of sale. 

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Undertakings Guidance.

Handbook - Regulatory Arrangements Specific

Overview

The CLC's regulatory regime is underpinned by the Handbook which sets out the regulatory responsibilities of all individuals and firms regulated by us.

Acting as insurance Intermediaries Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

Introduction

The CLC is a Designated Professional Body under Part XX of FSMA and as such it must make arrangements to regulate CLC Bodies in the provision of Regulated Activities in relation to which the General Prohibition does not apply as a result of section 327 FSMA.
Acting as Insurance Intermediaries Code
In this Code ‘you’ refers to bodies regulated by the CLC; all bodies regulated by the CLC which act as insurance intermediaries must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code. These requirements do not apply to a person authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in accordance with s.31 FSMA.

Outcomes-Focused
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  •     Clients receive good quality and independent information, representation and advice (Outcome 1.1);
  •     Each Client’s best interests are served (Outcome 3.1);
  •     Clients receive advice appropriate to their circumstances (Outcome 3.2);
  •     Clients have the information they need to make informed decisions (Outcome 3.3);
  •     Clients are aware of any referral arrangements and that they are consistent with your responsibilities both to them and to the CLC (Outcome 3.4);
  •     Clients are aware of any limitation or any condition resulting from your relationship with another party (Outcome 3.5);
  •     You act in accordance with regulatory responsibilities (Outcome 5.1).

Demonstrating integrity and providing appropriate standards of work when acting as an Insurance Intermediary helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:
1.     Act with independence and integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)
2.     Maintain high standards of work. (Overriding Principle 2)
3.     Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)
4.     Promote equality of access and service. (Overriding Principle 6)
5.    You act honestly, professionally and decently. (CoC P1b)
6.    You do not give false or misleading information relating to the provision of Regulated Services. (CoC P1e)
7.    You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or by the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b)
8.    You only recommend a particular person, business or product when it is in the best interests of the Client. (CoC P3f)
9.    You provide the Client with information which is accurate, useful and appropriate to the particular client. (CoC 3h)
10.    You provide the Client with all relevant information relating to any fee arrangements or fee changes. (CoC P3j)
11.    You advise Clients of the name and status of the person dealing with their matter and the name of the person responsible for overall supervision. (CoC P3k)
12.    When providing services which are not regulated by the CLC, you advise your Client of this and inform them in writing that the activity is not covered by CLC-approved professional indemnity insurance or the CLC-administered Compensation Fund. (CoC P3q)
13.    You co-operate with other regulators and ombudsmen. (CoC P5h)
You must also comply with the following specific requirements: 
14.     Subject to Requirement 16 and provided it complies with this Code you are only permitted to provide Regulated Activities as specified by the CLC by resolution and which are incidental to Regulated Services provided to a Client.
15.      To effectively oversee Regulated Activities you appoint a Manager as the person who:-
15.1 is responsible for ensuring the body has procedures and practices to enable it to comply with this Code;
15.2 will supply to the CLC or its agents information as required by the CLC; and
15.3 will notify the CLC immediately and in any event no later than seven days after each such appointment is made.
16.     You advise the CLC if there is an order or direction of the Financial Conduct Authority under sections 328 or 329 FSMA in force in respect of the body. Where such order is in force the CLC may withdraw permission without notice.
17.     The manner of the provision of any service in the course of carrying on a Regulated Activity is incidental to the provision by you of Professional Services.  
18.     The Regulated Activities you carry on are not of a description, or relate to an investment of a description, specified in an order made by HM Treasury under section 327(6) FSMA.
19.     The Regulated Activities are the only Regulated Activities carried on by the body (other than Regulated Activities in relation to which it is an FSMA Exempt Person). 
20.     You do not carry on, nor hold the body out as carrying on, a Regulated Service other than one which is permitted by this Code or one in relation to which it is a FSMA Exempt Person.
21.     You do not carry on any Insurance Mediation Activity unless the body is included in the Insurance Intermediaries Register.
22.     The body and all of its Managers at all times comply with FSMA, secondary legislation made under FSMA and the IMD, so far as they apply to them.
23.     The body and all of its Managers comply with the terms and provisions of the CLC’s Acting as an Insurance Intermediary Code.

Acting as Insurance Intermediaries
Insurance Intermediaries Register

24.    You only act as an insurance intermediary if you are registered on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Insurance Intermediaries Register. The CLC is responsible for supplying details of bodies to the FCA.
25.     Unless trading as a Sole Practitioner, you nominate one of your Managers to be listed on the Register as the main contact, with all correspondence relating to Insurance Intermediary Activities is addressed to that individual.
26.    You check that the body is listed on the Insurance Intermediaries Register before conducting any activity covered by paragraph 4 of the Guidance. 
27.    You inform us within 5 working days of any changes being made to your entry in the FCA’s register.

Notifications provided to clients
28.    You provide two types of notification on a Durable Medium (e.g. in writing, by fax or by email):
(i) at the outset of instructions (and in any event before the contract of insurance is concluded);
(ii) before a contract of insurance is concluded 
Notes:
a)    Some of the provisions are unlikely to vary from one matter to another and can be provided in standard terms.
b)    A clear statement of the basis on which a particular product has been chosen must be made. 
c)    The CLC understands there are relatively few providers of Title Indemnity Policies. It is unlikely therefore that any advice on products can be given on the basis of a fair analysis. It is much more likely they will be made from a limited number of insurance undertakings or a single insurance undertaking. 
(iii) information may be provided orally if the Client requires it or if immediate cover is required. To comply with Distance Marketing Regulations that information must be provided on a Durable Medium as soon as possible.

Passporting
29.    If you wish to establish a branch or provide Insurance Mediation Activities in another EC State you complete the FSMA passporting process (FSMA, paragraph 21, part IV, schedule 3).
30.    You do not provide Insurance Mediation Activities in another EC state unless you have given the FCA the necessary notice of the body’s intention to do so.

Terms & Information Provision
Providing Regulated Activities (including acting as an Insurance Intermediary) 
31.     All information under paragraphs 32 and 33 must be provided in a way which is fair, clear and not misleading, no less prominent than any other information provided to the Client at the same time and in English or in any other language agreed by the you and the Client.
32.     Before providing Regulated Activities, you provide the following information on a Durable Medium to the client:-
32.1 your name, address, telephone and other contact details;

32.2  if not included in 32.1, the names of the managers;

32.3   the name of the individual having day-to-day conduct of the matter and where applicable the name of the individual responsible for its overall supervision;

32.4  if the matter is to be conducted by a team, the identity of that team and the  name of its leader(s);

32.5 the name of the individual to whom any complaint should be made;

32.6   an explanation of the procedure to be adopted where the Client is dissatisfied with the services received or conduct delivered; this must include the name and address of the CLC and the Legal Ombudsman (see further information provided in the CLC’s Complaints Code and Guidance).
32.7  the following wording:-
‘’If you make a valid claim against us for a loss arising out of work for which we are legally responsible, and we are unable to meet our liability in full, you may be entitled to claim from the Compensation Fund administered by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (from whom details can be obtained”).
32.8 the following wording:-
 “[this firm is/we are] not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
 However, we are included in the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on Insurance Mediation Activities, which is broadly advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/home.do .
33.    Before concluding any contract of insurance, or the renewal or the amendment of a contract of insurance, you provide the Client with the following information, if you have not already done so, on a Durable Medium:-
33.1  whether the body has any holding, direct or indirect, representing more than 10% of the voting rights or of the capital in an insurance undertaking;
33.2   whether an insurance undertaking or parent of any insurance undertaking has a holding, direct or indirect, representing more than 10% of the voting rights or of the capital in the body;
33.3       whether the body has given or will give advice:-
33.3.1    on the basis of a fair analysis of the market; or
33.3.2    from a limited number of insurance undertakings; or
33.3.3    from a single insurance undertaking;
33.4  if paragraph 33.3.2 or 33.3.3 applies you must disclose whether the body is contractually obliged to conduct Insurance Mediation Activity in this way;
33.5   if the contract of insurance has not been selected on the basis of a fair analysis of the market that the Client can ask for a copy of the list of insurance undertakings from which the body selects or with which it deals in relation to the contract provided;
33.6  based on the information provided by the Client, a statement, reflecting the complexity of the contract proposed:-
33.7.1   sets out the Client’s demands and needs;
33.7.2   confirms whether or not advice on the contract has been given to the Client;
33.7.3 explains the reasons for giving advice on the contract where such advice is given to the Client.
34.     You may provide the information at paragraphs 32 and/or 33 orally only if:
34.1    the Client requests it; or
34.2    the Client requires immediate cover;
but in both cases you must provide the information on a Durable Medium immediately after the conclusion of the contract.
35.    When informing the Client that advice is given on the basis of a fair analysis, in accordance with paragraph 33.3.1, you must:
35.1   give advice on the basis of an analysis of a sufficiently large number of insurance contracts available on the market, to enable it to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, as to which insurance contract would be adequate to meet the Client’s needs; and
35.2       explain to the Client that it has done so.
Accounting to the Client
36.    You account to the Client for any pecuniary award or other advantage received by you from a person other than your Client arising out of you carrying on a Regulated Activity (s.327(3) FSMA).

Other
37.    Where appropriate you refer, and if appropriate, take legal advice on the effect of IMD, FSMA, secondary legislation, and the Guidance.

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Acting as Insurance Intermediaries Guidance

Acting for Lenders and Prevention and Detection of Mortgage Fraud Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies providing conveyancing services regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Outcomes-Focused

The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the following Outcomes:

  • Clients receive an honest and lawful service; (Outcome 1.2)
  • Clients money is kept separately and safely; (Outcome 1.3)
  • Client matters are dealt with using care, skills and diligence; (Outcome 2.2)
  • Appropriate arrangements, resources, procedures, skills and commitment are in place to ensure Clients always receive a high standard of service; (Outcome 2.3)
  • Clients’ affairs are treated confidentially (except as required or permitted by law or with the Client’s consent). (Outcome 3.6)

 

Prevention and detection of mortgage fraud and acting properly in the interests of lenders helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way:

1.            Act with Independence and Integrity. (Overriding Principle 1)

2.            Maintain High Standards of Work. (Overriding Principle 2)

3.            Act in the best interests of your Clients. (Overriding Principle 3)

4.            You systematically identify and mitigate risks to the business and to Clients. (CoC P2f) 

5.            You promote ethical practice and compliance with regulatory requirements. (CoC P2g)

6.            You enable staff to raise concerns which are acted on appropriately. (CoC P2h)

7.            You maintain proper governance, management, supervision, financial and risk management arrangements and controls. (CoC P2i) 

8.            You keep the interests of the Client paramount (except as required by the law or the CLC’s regulatory arrangements). (CoC P3b)

9.            You disclose client information only as you have been instructed (or as required by the CLC’s regulatory arrangements or by law), keeping effective records of any disclosures you make. (CoC P3e)

You must also comply with the following specific requirements:

Part A – Acting for Lenders

10.          When acting for a Lender, you take all necessary steps to ensure that the conveyancing services provided by it do not fall below the reasonably competent standard which should be expected.

11.          You take all relevant steps to comply with the general and particular mortgage instructions contained in the current edition of Parts 1 & 2 of the Lenders’ Handbook for England & Wales issued by the Council of Mortgage Lenders ("the CML Handbook").

12.          If you suspect a client of not being completely honest or transparent about any element of a proposed mortgage transaction, you must consider whether you should continue to act for the Lender and/or the Client.

13.          You do not disclose confidential information to the Lender after you have ceased to act for a Client.

Identity of the Client

14.          You establish and obtain proof of the identity of Clients in line with the requirements of the CML Handbook and the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Legislation. You must advise the Lender if a Borrower Client is unable, reluctant or unwilling to provide this verification.

15.          Any system or product you use must be sufficiently robust to provide the necessary degree of certainty and include data from a range of sources, across time and incorporate qualitative checks that assess the strength of the information supplied. Your evidence base and level of verification must be composite and comprehensive.

Identity of the Property

16.          You are certain you have correctly identified the property which is to be mortgaged and that the documents of title with which you have been presented accurately relate to and reflect that property, particularly where its name or its boundaries or other significant features have been changed.

Transactions

17.          In registered title property transactions, you obtain Official Copies of the title and a copy of the Official Plan produced by the Land Registry.

18.          You do not complete a mortgage transaction without first obtaining the results of Land Registry, Land Charges or Company Searches, as appropriate.

19.          You carry out a Bankruptcy Search (which must be current at completion) in the registered names of and any other names used by a Borrower or by which he is otherwise known.

19.1        Where an entry is revealed against the name of the Borrower (or the mortgagor or guarantor) you must certify that the entry does not relate to the Borrower (or the mortgagor or guarantor) if you are able to do so from your own knowledge or enquiries; or if, after obtaining office copy entries or making other enquiries of the Official Receiver, you are unable to certify that the entry does not relate to the borrower (or the mortgagor or guarantor) you make a report to the Lender.

19.2        You obtain clear bankruptcy searches against all parties to any deed of gift or transaction at an apparent undervalue (paragraph 5.15.4 CML Handbook).

20.          You complete a mortgage for a registered title and the application for registration at the Land Registry lodged before the end of the priority period provided by the Land Registry Search. Any search application to create a fresh priority must be made in sufficient time before the expiry of the existing priority period to enable a substantive application to be lodged within the appropriate period if another "hostile" application is revealed.

21.          You complete a mortgage over an unregistered title within the priority period provided by the Land Charges Searches. You register your application with the Land Registry within 2 months of the date of completion.

22.          Where the Borrower is a Company you register the charge at Companies House within 21 days (a period which may only be extended by order of the Court).

23.          When acting for a Seller or Buyer, Official Copies and Official Plan you must check no additional charges have been registered.

24.          When acting for a Seller, you check the Title Entries on receipt from the Land Registry (and before issue to the Buyer’s conveyancer) to ensure that any additional charges are noted and addressed at the outset. This will avoid causing problems in discharging undertakings.

Mortgage Redemption

25.          To ensure compliance with the CLC’s Undertakings Code and with Clause 17 of Part 1 of the CML Handbook, you:-

25.1        ask a client at the outset of any sale or remortgage transaction whether there are any mortgages secured against the property and, if so, obtain details (including relevant mortgage account numbers);

25.2        specifically ask those clients whether, in addition to the principal mortgage account, they have any other loans with different account numbers with the same Lender (which may be secured against the property) or any other mortgages with any other Lenders and, if so, obtain details (including relevant mortgage account numbers);

25.3        request an illustrative redemption statement from the Lender at the outset of the transaction giving details of mortgage account numbers, and verify the outstanding amount(s) shown on those statements with your clients;

25.4        when obtaining either an illustrative or a final redemption figure from a Lender, request a statement of the total amount required to redeem all loans and monies secured by the Lender's charge over the property. Failure to ask for details of all loans and monies secured by the Lender may mean that the redemption figure will only relate to those accounts where details have been provided;

25.5 ensure any discharge undertaking given specifies both the identity of the lender and the date of each charge it is intended to discharge in reply to any requisitions on title or otherwise.

Mortgage Instructions

26.          You:-

26.1        check the Lender's mortgage offer and instructions carefully and ensure that that they match the details of the transaction exactly or otherwise report any discrepancies to the Lender, having first obtained instructions from his Borrower client so to do or, if the client refuses to consent, to cease acting for the Lender;

26.2        question and clarify any unusual or uncertain instructions before proceeding;

26.3        cease to act for the Lender if his interests or the interests of anyone working within your body or the interests of the Borrower come into conflict with those of the Lender; and

26.4        comply with Part B - the Mortgage Fraud Code.

Part B - Mortgage Fraud

27.          You immediately cease to act for a client in any circumstances where you are aware or suspect that the client is attempting to perpetrate fraud. If you decide to terminate the retainer, you must observe Principle 3 g) of the Code of Conduct unless to do so would constitute a "tipping off" offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Terrorism Act 2000.

28.          You maintain your duty of confidentiality to your client after ceasing to act for that client except where:

  • a court orders such matters to be disclosed
  • a warrant permits a police officer or other authority to seize confidential documents, or
  • there is compelling evidence that the client was using its services to further a criminal or fraudulent purpose, in which case disclosure should be made to the police.

29.       In acting in the best interests of the Lender you may be required to pass on or report information to the Lender. Where the Borrower client declines consent to its disclosure, a conflict of interest will arise between the duty of confidentiality to the Borrower client and the duty to act in the best interests of the Lender. You must therefore cease to act for the Lender (and consider carefully whether you can continue to act for the Buyer).

Identity of the Client and Client's Circumstances

30.          You:-

30.1        establish the client’s identity in line with the CLC’s Anti-Money Laundering Code and the current Money Laundering Regulations,  obtaining proof of that identity to establish that a client is who he says he is and that he lives at the address given;

30.2        advise the Lender if, in any case, a client is unable, reluctant or unwilling to provide this verification;

30.3        identify all the other owners of the property and other persons who might have an interest in or rights over the property (if any) and ensure that the client's current co-owner/partner is, where applicable, the co-owner/partner referred to on the title of the property;

30.4        obtain confirmation of instructions direct from the client (and from all other interested parties) wherever possible, particularly where he or they communicate through an intermediary and

(i) obtain detailed instructions ;

(ii) satisfy itself that the client is not subject to duress or undue influence and

(iii) satisfy itself that the client is entering into the transaction knowingly

30.5        be satisfied that the client's economic position, wealth and lifestyle correspond with the mortgage that he is proposing to enter into and there are no facts which suggest the potential for mortgage fraud (e.g. that he has not overstated his income in the mortgage application or that he does not have substantial arrears on an existing mortgage account); and

30.6        check all signatures to reduce any risk of forgery of the signatures of other interested parties (e.g. a husband who forges his wife's signature).

Linked Transactions

31.          Having obtained the client’s instructions to do so, you notify the Lender of any sub-sale or back-to-back element in any transaction and ensure you have the Lender's written consent before proceeding. If the client refuses to consent to that disclosure, you cease acting for the client and the Lender.

Identity of the other lawyers

32.          You check the identity of the  CLC Lawyer(s) or Solicitors acting for the other party by reference to the CLC or the Records Department of the Law Society of England & Wales respectively.

Proceeds of Sale

33.          You pay particular attention to instructions given for the distribution of the net proceeds of a sale or remortgage:

33.1        If the property or the mortgage is held in joint names, the net proceeds of sale must be sent to an account in the joint names of all clients or a cheque must be written to all parties jointly

33.2        The net proceeds are sent to all the parties except as otherwise instructed by all the parties in writing.

Variations in Price, Incentives and other Material Considerations

34.          When acting for a Buyer and a Lender, you, with the client's consent, notify a Lender immediately where:-

34.1        there is an alteration to the purchase price or the details are different from the details set out in the mortgage offer (other than as permitted by the Lender).

34.2        you become aware of any other information which you would reasonably expect the Lender to consider important in deciding whether, or on what terms, it would make the mortgage advance available to the Buyer.

35.          You do not complete the mortgage until the Lender has confirmed that it is happy to proceed and, if applicable, the terms upon which it is willing so to do.

36.          You establish and maintain proper systems, procedures, processes and internal controls for approval of Certificates of Title prior to submission to the Lender.

37.          You remain mindful of your duty to act in the best interests of the Lender as your client.

General

38.          You do not witness any signature unless the person signing does so in your presence. You ensure that any signed document which has been witnessed other than by a conveyancer has been properly signed in the presence of a witness.

39.          You verify the signatures of clients (and any other interested parties) on all documents connected with a transaction.

Warning Signs

40.          You question the probity of unusual instructions and are particularly circumspect if any one or more of the circumstances set out in the “Summary of Warning Signs” Guidelines apply to a transaction where you are acting

Acting for Lenders Guidance

Checking Identity by Documentary Means

1.            The identity of a Borrower can be verified by checking their identity against appropriate original documents provided to you which appear to be authentic, are current and, where applicable, have been signed in the relevant place. A document or a series of documents meeting the expectations contained in Clause 3.1.6 of Part 1 of the CML Handbook is likely to satisfy the Lender's requirements.

2.            Care must always be taken to ensure that the extent of the evidence seen will also meet responsibilities for client identity verification under the Regulations and the expectations contained in the CLC’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing Code.

3.            Clause 3.2 of Part 1 of the CML Handbook prescribes requirements for safeguards and identity checks.

Checking Identity by Electronic Means

4.            You must obtain "satisfactory evidence of identity", which must be reasonably capable of establishing (and does in fact establish to the satisfaction of the person who obtains it) that the potential client is the person he claims to be. The CLC considers verification of identity by appropriate electronic means to be acceptable, though urges caution. Electronic evidence obtained should provide you with a strong level of certainty that any individual is the person they claim to be and that a person of that name lives at the address given using the client's full name, address and date of birth as its basis.

5.            Any system or product used must be sufficiently robust to provide the necessary degree of certainty. Data accessed from a single source (e.g. the Electoral Roll) will not normally be sufficient on its own. Some databases will offer a higher degree of confidence than others.

 6.            Before using a commercial agency for electronic verification, you must be satisfied that:-

6.1          the information supplied by the data provider is considered to be sufficiently extensive, reliable and accurate; and

6.2          the agency has processes which allow its users to capture and store the information that they have used to verify an identity.

7.           The process should be cumulative and you may consider it appropriate to seek additional evidence (e.g. a copy of a document bearing a signature and a date of birth) in all cases or, at least, where any client poses a higher risk of identity fraud, money laundering or terrorist financing, or where the result of any electronic verification check gives rise to concern or uncertainty over the client’s identity.

8.            You may wish to consider whether the provider meets each of the following criteria, namely that it:-

8.1          is recognised to store personal data through registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office;

8.2          uses a range of positive information sources that can be called upon to link an applicant to both current and previous circumstances;

8.3          accesses negative information sources such as databases relating to identity fraud and deceased persons;

8.4          accesses a wide range of alert data sources; and

8.5          has transparent processes that enable you to know what checks were carried out, what the results of these checks were and what they mean in terms of how much certainty they give as to the identity of the subject of the identity enquiry.

9.            Data from more robust sources where inclusion is based on proof of identity (such as government departments) ought to be included (under paragraph 8.2). Negative information checks (under paragraph 8.3) minimise the risk of impersonation fraud.

10.  It is also important for:-

10.1        the process of electronic verification to meet a standard level of confirmation before it can be relied on. In circumstances which do not give rise to concern or uncertainty, the standard level would be expected to be:

              (i) one match on an individual’s full name and current address and

(ii) a second match on an individual’s full name and either his current address or his date of birth.

If the result of a standard verification check gives rise to concern or uncertainty over the client's identity, the number of matches required to provide reasonable satisfaction as to his identity should increase.

10.2        You should ensure you understand the basis of the system you use in order to be satisfied that the sources of the underlying data reflect the CLC’s requirements and cumulatively meet the standard level of confirmation set out above as commercial agencies use various methods of displaying results (e.g. by the number of documents checked or through scoring mechanisms, etc).

Transactional Considerations

11.1        For a registered title, the date from which the Land Registry search should be made is the date of issue of the Official Copies supplied or obtained at the outset of the transaction and the search should be made in the registered name of the Lender (and not its trading name) to avoid any conflict of priorities.

11.2        For unregistered land, searches must be made against all names and any variations on those names on the title documentation and, where an address has changed, a search should be made against any former address and/or counties.

11.3        For unregistered land, an Index Map Search must always be undertaken to ensure that the extent of the land to be conveyed is consistent with the title documentation and the Borrower’s understanding.

12.          In unregistered title property transactions, it is good practice both when acting for a Seller or a Buyer to make a Land Charges Search at the outset of the transaction to ascertain any entries details of which have not been supplied by the clients or are not revealed in the Abstract or Epitome of Title.

Mortgage Fraud Guidance

1.            Mortgage fraud may be perpetrated by one or more participants in a mortgage loan transaction, including the Borrower, or by multiple parties (a mortgage fraud ring) working dishonestly together (and often in a professional capacity).

2.            Mortgage fraud is a criminal offence which can often result in imprisonment on conviction. Some conveyancers have been caught up unwittingly in a mortgage fraud, not because of any wilfully fraudulent acts on their part but because they have failed to act in accordance with this Code, neglecting to check all details of the transaction and failing where appropriate to report to the Lender for whom they are also acting. They have not appreciated that the circumstances of the transaction might lead to or give rise to fraud.

3.            Proceeds of mortgage fraud are criminal property. A conveyancer who assists in such a fraud will facilitate the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property contrary to s.328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He may also aid and abet a fraud or be complicit in a conspiracy to defraud.

4.            Mortgage fraud is likely to require a report to be made to the National Crime Agency.

5.            Any attempt to deceive a Lender may expose you to civil action (e.g. breach of contract, breach of trust or negligence) and/or to disciplinary proceedings.

Linked Parties

             6.            You should always exercise caution if:-

             6.1          there appear to be links between a Buyer and Seller; or

             6.2          you are acting for both parties; or

             6.3          the Seller is a private company or the Seller has recently purchased from a private company and the names and addresses of the officers and shareholders of the company appear to be connected with the transaction, the Seller or Buyer.

Concerns of variations

              7.            It is in your interests to check whether:-

7.1          the contract papers have incomplete or missing dates, incorrect descriptions or any sections (particularly the price) which have been left blank;

7.2          the price shown in the Contract and Transfer documentation differs from the amount actually being paid for the property;

7.3          any fixtures and fittings included in the purchase price materially reduce the value of the property;

7.4          the Seller is offering the Buyer any incentive(s) to buy the property unless these clearly fall within a Part 2 CML Handbook dispensation given by the Lender concerned;

7.5          any allowances are made or any other sum is being set-off against the money payable by the Buyer to the Seller (e.g. for repairs to the property):

7.6          the Buyer proposes to pay or has apparently paid a deposit direct to the Seller (except for a nominal reservation fee); or

7.7          there is anything else that affects the price of the property or the amount actually being paid for the property, however small.

8.            It is not advisable for you to determine whether any change is material. With your client’s consent, you should make a report to the Lender. It is good practice to advise clients at an early stage that

(i) it would be regarded as fraud to misrepresent the purchase price or the existence of any incentives and inducements; and

(ii) you have a duty to inform a Lender of the true or underlying price actually being paid for a property.

9.            It is good practice to include a term in the Terms of Engagement permitting the disclosure to Lenders of material facts relating to the property and the Borrower client.

Acting in the best interests of the Lender client

10.         In the event of the circumstances detailed in paragraph 7 your safest course of action may be to cease to act for both the Lender and the Borrower client.

11.          Where you cease to act for the Lender in such circumstances, you should return the mortgage instructions to the Lender merely stating that they are returned because of a conflict of interests (without giving any further explanation).

Valuations

              12.          It is good practice to check any valuation supplied by the Lender to check it is not:

12.1        higher than the actual price being paid for the property or higher than might be expected for a property of that type in the location in which it is situated; or

12.2        considerably higher than the price paid for the property on any earlier sale or disposal within the last 12 months, taking into account any subsequent inflation or deflation in property prices since the date of that sale or disposal.

13.          You are not a valuation expert and cannot be expected to advise on the accuracy of a valuation. Nevertheless, a valuation which is patently out of line with the apparent value of a property may be a ground for a suspicion of fraud, particularly where there is a possibility or risk of complicity between prospective Borrowers and Valuers.

Verifications of Signatures

14.          This can be done by examination and comparison with signatures on any other available documentation.

Fraud schemes

15.1        Mortgage Fraud can take the form of fraud for property or profit (or both). It can be opportunistic e.g. parties misrepresenting their income or not declaring other debt obligations; or perpetrated by mortgage fraud rings e.g. organised crime syndicates overvaluing properties, ‘professionals’ not acting professionally, provision of fake IDs, fake firms, flipping, inflated, or low, property valuations, illegitimate source of funds etc. Criminal methodologies are continually evolving but fraud activities have previously included:

a) criminals posing as the buyer’s new lawyer obtain the mortgage advance instead of the real buyer


b)  usage of at least one ‘professional’ party to appear to verify the transaction’s legitimacy and reassure other professionals within it


c)  fraud rings acquiring machinery which produces fake – yet undetectable as such – driving licences for ID purposes, creating fictitious nominated purchasers


d)  fictitious property or vacant land or non-developed property (particularly targeting property clubs)


e)  selling property, at inflated values, between related private companies 


f)   back-to-back sales where the first mortgage is not registered against the property (and not redeemed upon second sale completion)


g)  Equity Release Schemes where the client sells the property to a fictitious person or mortgage mule, who takes out an inflated value mortgage and on which it makes no payments (or where the person is vulnerable and does not understand the scheme’s conditions and implications)


h)   purchasing via auction a repossessed property and (usually within a year) seeking external funding against the property, or posing as a property developer seeking bridging loans


i)    identifying deceased estates through local papers’ notices sections, establishing identity as either the deceased person or a long-lost heir and seeking a mortgage over the existing equity; and


j)   applying for a County Court Judgement against the owner of a repossessed/ unoccupied property concerning a non-existent debt.

 

Examples of linked parties and sub-sales schemes:

15.2        Sale at an inflated price to an individual by a company or other entity controlled or owned by her/him may be a device designed to raise additional finance for the company or other entity and be linked to larger-scale frauds involving tax, improvement grants, etc. Sale by a Borrower to an associate at an inflated price (known as roll-over fraud) can then enable the associate to obtain a higher mortgage. No repayments are made under the mortgage and before the Lender is able to repossess the property, it is sold to another associate for a higher price, and so on.

15.3        A Buyer at one price instructs his conveyancer that he will be selling on to a third party at a higher price where the Sub-Buyer is either one and the same person as the Buyer or an associated person where the Seller may or may not also be a party to the fraud. The Sub-Buyer third party obtains a mortgage based on the sub-sale price and secures an immediate profit. The balance between the original sale price and the higher sub-sale price is never paid or is said to be paid by the Buyer to the Sub-buyer or is allegedly set-off by the Buyer against money owed to him by the Sub-Buyer. These transactions often feature a simultaneous exchange of contracts followed by a quick completion, leaving the Lender left with a property worth the original sale-price as security for a much higher loan. A derivative of this fraud occurs where a Seller grants a lease to a Buyer at a ground rent and the Buyer then assigns the lease to a Sub-Buyer at a premium to provide the Sub-Buyer with a legal interest over which he can then obtain a mortgage.

Summary of Possible Warning Signs

16.          The following are factors to be taken into consideration within conveyancing transactions. Where any of these factors are found the transaction should be approached with caution. That is not to say that in all circumstances listed below that mortgage fraud is likely, or is happening, but there may be increased risk to the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes.

16.1 Mortgage/property type

a) Buy-to-let schemes (large-scale fraud can take the form of large-scale renovation projects, new-build apartment complexes, and on occasion commercial properties)


b) Sub-prime, self-certified, or 100% mortgages


c) Where a Stamp Duty Mitigation Scheme is being used


d) Seller or developer have provided incentives, allowances or discounts (especially if these were previously undisclosed)


e) A lender which is not a mainstream bank, building society or similar institution


f) Unencumbered property


g) The property and mortgage do not seem consistent with your knowledge of the client’s financial position and income sources


h) Cases referred from investment clubs or sale and rent-back companies


i) The property has a history of being re-sold, or mortgages settled, quickly

16.2 Transaction type

a) The property has a County Court Judgement against it


b) Acting for both the borrower and the seller especially if involving corporate structures


c) You are asked to complete the transaction and transfer the title in accordance with already exchanged contracts


d) Finance is sought after the property has been registered in the buyer’s name


e) You are offered continued work at a higher margin to encourage less diligent checks*


f) Following a court order, the land is transferred but no application for a mortgage is made until some time later


g) There has been a recent transfer of land but no money has changed hands


h) Variance in signatures


i) Instructions to purchase in or transfer a property into the name or names of nominees


j) Instructions from a Seller to remit the net proceeds of a transaction to someone other than the Seller


k) Any instructions from a Buyer or Seller which do not correspond with the normal type of instructions you would expect to receive during the course of a standard residential or commercial conveyancing transaction


l) Any transaction which is unusual insofar as it does not follow the normal course or pattern of a standard residential or commercial property transaction


m) A deposit or the difference between the mortgage advance and the price is paid direct or said to have been be paid direct, to the Seller


n) Contract documents are not fully completed by the Seller’s representative, i.e. dates missing or the identity of the parties are not fully described or financial details are not fully stated

16.3 Client type

a) Borrower does not reside at the property


b) ‘Ideal’ occupations and salaries e.g. earning £100,000 or working in a preferred occupation


c) The seller is a private company, or has recently purchased the property from a private company

 
d) Deposit paid by someone other than the purchaser


e) First-time property investment of this scale


f) Current owner has owned the property for less than six months; this may indicate flipping  i.e. re-selling a property very quickly for a substantially increased price, usually involves back-to-back sales


g) An existing Client asks you to rely on former identify checks i.e. ‘reliance’ exemptions


h) The buyer is a corporate purchaser and it is unclear whether the transaction is at arms length i.e. the identity of the beneficial owner is not disclosed (or the names and addresses of office holders and shareholders at the company do not reflect those connected with the transaction)


i) The client’s credit history is not aligned to their age (it may be longer or shorter than might be expected)


j) The ‘owner’ does not appear to be of the age to have held the property registered to them for the length of time stated

16.4 Remote Client

a) Where a client is introduced by a third party (e.g. a mortgage broker or an estate agent) who is not well known to the Authorised Person or the firm


b) Where a potential client wishing to instruct the body for the first time does not live locally to it and has not been introduced by someone known to it and there is no obvious reason why they should place their instructions with it


c) Where a client will be using the services of the body for the first time and persuades it to accept instructions from the other party, or the other party instructs the body

16.5 Secretive Client

a) Client declines to be met or come to the office and/or uses an intermediary to communicate with the body and/or asks the body to contact him at his business or another address rather than at his home address


b) Client shares an address with one or more other parties to the transaction


c) You suspect that a client is not being completely honest or transparent about any element of a proposed mortgage transaction

16.6 Other parties

a) Where another Authorised Person has previously been acting


b) Person acting on the other side of the transaction is not a lawyer (see Dealing with Non-Authorised Persons (third parties) Code & Guidance)


c) Impatient parties putting pressure on you to complete the transaction quickly where the reason for urgency is not immediately apparent 

 
d) The deposit is paid by the buyer directly to the seller or developer


e) Power of Attorney involved


f) The details/final destination of documents do not match the contact details for the individual/firm provided in the directory of their regulatory/professional body


g) A person claiming to be an Authorised Person is not registered with the relevant Approved Regulator

16.7 Diligence

a) Deed not signed in front of you (enhanced due diligence is required where you do not meet the client)


b) Reliance on the diligence of another party

16.8 Valuations

a) You are requested to alter the value on the Certificate of Title*


b) You are asked to enter a price on the title that is greater than you know was paid for the property


c) Discrepancies in value recorded in documents (including the contract, transfer documents, mortgage instructions, certificate of title to lender, Land Registry forms)


d) Adjustments to the purchase price, particularly in high percentage mortgage cases, or allowances off the purchase price, for example, for alleged works to be carried out


e) The actual and true cash price to be paid is not the stated consideration in the contract and transfer and/or the price shown in the mortgage instructions and in the Certificate of Title submitted to the Lender

*if the value is altered without the agreement of the lender this is likely to be in breach of the Overriding Principles 1 ‘Act with Independence and Integrity’ and 2 ‘Maintain High Standards of Work’.

 

16.9.       In each case you should consider whether you authority to make a report to the     
       lender and/or whether you should cease acting for both the lender and the
       borrower.

16.10      The National Fraud Authority’s indicator for UK mortgage fraud in 2012 was estimated at £1 billion. The way in which mortgage fraud is attempted is continually changing; the examples given at item 15 and the possible warning signs provided above, are not intended to list exhaustively all of the areas in which extra caution should be applied. You should remain alert to any transaction, or element within, or party to it, which is unusual or raises cause for concern. 

Good Practice

17.          The following are examples of good practices which other firms have employed to help prevent, identify and mitigate fraudulent activities. You are not required to adopt these practices, they are provided for your consideration. It is acknowledged that a number the examples provided have been adopted by larger firms; you may wish to consider adopting/tailoring these practices to align with the size and client profile of your firm.

17.1        Due Diligence

a)            Ongoing management/review of relationships with third parties


b)            Open source internet searches against other firms and its staff, including adverse
               information published by any relevant regulatory bodies and credit-checking


c)            Scrutinising, clarifying and verifying the information received from parties connected
               to the transaction, considering risks presented by new mortgage products


d)            Systems for checking the identity of foreign clients


e)            Checking that deposit monies for a mortgage transaction appear to be from a
               legitimate source


f)             Considering whether property valuations appear to be reasonable


g)            If your client changes while you are acting on a transaction, contact both the old and
               the new client so you understand the reason for the change of client and are
               satisfied that it appears to be for a legitimate reason


h)            Electronic identification check with  each client as soon as instruction is received;
               use a service provider accessing a unique system which matches identity of client
              
 using ID and verifying confidential information known only to client and provider

17.2        Staff - Fit & Proper

a)            Pre-employment screening of employees


b)            Staff required to disclose conflicts of interest stemming from their relationships with
              third parties


c)            Enhanced vetting methods -  e.g. credit checks, criminal record checks, last 5 years
              employment  - applied to different roles

17.3        Staff - Training

a)            Lawyers trained to review responses given on source of funding source e.g. does the
               information provided fit the age/ occupation/profile of the client?


b)            Appropriately trained and experienced staff handle the process; training including
              mortgage fraud risks, potential risk indicators and the firm’s approach to handling
               the issue


c)            Detailed mortgage fraud training for staff (may include scenarios and case studies)


d)            Mortgage Fraud Awareness Manual/Test, updated to reflect new mortgage fraud
              trends and types


e)            Mortgage Fraud ‘champions’ offer guidance or mentoring to staff and updates on
              new  fraudulent methods


f)             Measure, motivate and reward staff in and the steps they take to prevent fraud


g)            All staff receive training on information security procedures 

17.4        Systems/Controls – Risk Assessment Policies

a)            Staff are encouraged to report fraud under a clear whistle-blowing policy


b)            Allocate each conveyancing file a fraud/risk monitoring level


c)            Systematically consider how management information can be improved and used
              more effectively to mitigate the risk of fraud; systems/procedures/training evolve
              according to market  intelligence/pressures (particularly concerning information
              security, fraud and risk information provided by lender clients), with company AML,
              Fraud and Risk Policies regularly updated, communicated and training provided


d)            System alerts if lawyer on other end of transaction changes or their bank account
              details alter 


e)            Reviewing negative databases, such as a list of known fraudsters and the deaths
               register


f)             Standard Terms and Conditions include a clause that stating the lender client will be
               advised of any relevant information arising; the client’s attention will be brought to
               the term and they have to sign their acceptance of this

17.5        Systems/Controls - Authorisations

a)            Accounting functions and controls are separated from transactional client facing
              functions
b)            Money can only be taken from the client account when more than one person
              authorises the transaction

17.6        Systems/Controls – Quality Assurance

a)            Internal audit and compliance teams regularly monitor the adequacy of underlying
              client take-on arrangements or third party relationships
b)            A formal quality and audit framework to ensure daily quality assurance of key tasks
               undertaken and full compliance audits carried out on a rotational basis

17.7        Information Security

a)            Information security management systems certified by an accredited certificate
               organisation
b)            Information Security systems are compliant with the Department for Business
               Innovation & Skills Guidance
              
c)            The firm has a written information security policy which a senior member of staff
               oversees 

17.8        Information-gathering

a)            Engage in cross-industry efforts to exchange information about fraud risks


b)            Dedicated Land Registry team producing company-wide management information

Should you require information on how to meet your responsibilities under this Code, please see the CLC’s Acting for Lenders and Mortgage Fraud Guidance.

Licensed Body (ABS) Code

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

Only those bodies able and willing to deliver the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes are licensed as CLC Licensed Bodies.

Delivering these Outcomes requires all Licensed Bodies and their stakeholders to act in a principled way in accordance with the 6 Overriding Principles:
1.    Act with independence and integrity;
2.     Maintain high standards of work; 
3.     Act in the best interests of your Clients; 
4.     Comply with your duty to the court;  
5.     Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way;
6.     Promote equality of access and service.
This Code is in place to help ensure Licensed Bodies meet these responsibilities.  

Licensed Body Code
In this Code ‘you’ refers to Licensed Bodies regulated by the CLC, except where ‘you’ is provided under the heading of a designated role in which case the ‘you’ refers to that role. Any stakeholders in the Licensed Body must not act or fail to act, nor permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Governance and operational arrangements
Principles

1.    You ensure all persons with a material interest, managers and employees understand and comply with their regulatory responsibilities and do not compromise the body’s duty to the Court or Client.

2.    You enable the Head of Legal Practice (HoLP) and Head of Finance and Administration (HoFA) to discharge their regulatory responsibilities.

3.    You enable Authorised Persons to comply with their own regulatory responsibilities.

4.    You ensure persons with a material interest are unable to exert improper influence on the body.

5.    You systematically prevent, identify and address improper influence, allowing independence to be maintained and the rule of law to be upheld.

6.    You provide a mechanism by which staff can identify regulatory concerns to the HoLP, and any finance-related concerns to the HoFA also.

7.    You operate complaints-handling procedures which consider complaints about both lawyers and non-lawyers.

Specific Requirements
8.    You have a designated HoLP and HoFA and have applied for/obtained CLC approval of these individuals. 
9.    Your HoLP and HoFA have experience and qualifications appropriate to the body’s profile.
10.   Your HoLP and HoFA are members of the senior management team or Board, or report to the senior management team or Board. 
11.    You provide the HoLP and HoFA with access to the Licensed Body’s managers and staff and the CLC whenever necessary and their views are taken into account and the recommendations taken forward wherever possible.
12.    You specifically authorise the HoLP and HoFA to dissent from collective responsibility when reporting to the CLC. 
13.    You ensure Non-Authorised Persons who propose to hold a material interest of 10% or more, or a material interest holder proposes to acquire an additional kind of interest, notify both the body and the CLC.
14.    You ensure the HoLP is notified of any ‘fit and proper’ issue concerning the owner(s), the HoLP, HoFA, other Managers or Authorised Persons.

Specific Requirements –  Non-Authorised Persons with Material interest 
15. You are a ‘fit and proper’ person and declare to the HoLP any factors affecting this.
16.  You do not attempt to exert improper influence over the body or individuals within it. 
17.    If you intend to acquire an additional kind of material interest you inform both the Licensed Body and the CLC. 

Business arrangements
Specific requirements

18.    You have at least one Authorised Person, authorised to provide each reserved legal activity the body delivers.
19.    You do not employ any person disqualified from being employed by a Licensed Body or any person not fit and proper. 

 20.    You do not share Client information with other parts of the business without the Client’s permission.

Head of Legal Practice  
Principles

21.    You understand the regulatory responsibilities of the body.
22.    You act upon regulatory responsibility concerns raised by staff.
23.    You keep up- to-date with legislative and regulatory requirements through targeted Continuous Professional Development. 
24.    You ensure Authorised Persons employed by the body are fit and proper.
25.    You report to the CLC any governance concerns including improper influence.
Specific Requirements - of the Individual
26.    You are an Authorised Person in relation to one or more of the reserved legal activities.
27.    You are a ‘fit and proper’ person and declare to the Licensed Body and the CLC any factors affecting this.

Specific Requirements – of responsibility
28.    You ensure the Licensed Body complies with CLC regulatory arrangements and any licence authorisations, permissions and conditions, promptly reporting any breach to the CLC.
29.    You ensure Authorised Persons are able to comply with their regulatory responsibilities, promptly reporting to the CLC any breach of this.
30.    You ensure all Non-Authorised Person employees, managers or material interest holders do not cause or substantially contribute to the Licensed Body or any of its employees, managers or Authorised Persons,  breaching its/their regulatory responsibilities, promptly reporting to the CLC any failures to comply.
31.    You ensure persons proposing to acquire a material interest in the body, or who have already done so are aware of their duty to notify.
32.    You ensure you are informed promptly of any circumstance identified under the CLC Notification Code.

Head of Finance & Administration
Principles

33.    You protect client money and assets at all times. 
34.    You understand the regulatory responsibilities of the body.

Litigation and Advocacy Code Supplementary

To view in a printable PDF version, please click here.

Note: this Code will only apply if the CLC’s application to extend its regulatory scope is successful.

In this Code ‘you’ refers to individuals and bodies regulated by the CLC; all individuals and bodies providing litigation and advocacy services regulated by the CLC must comply with this Code. You must not permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code. 
All CLC Litigation Lawyers and Advocates are required to comply at all times with the Principles and Specific Requirements set out under the Code of Conduct’s Overriding Principle 4 of Comply with your duty to the Court when providing litigation and advocacy services. This Code provides you with responsibilities supplementary those identified in the Code of Conduct, which are aimed at helping you deliver the Outcomes identified below.  

Outcomes-Focused 
The Code of Conduct requires you to deliver the follow Outcomes:

  •    You act in the interests of justice; (Outcome 4.1)
  •    You act in good faith towards Clients. (Outcome 4.2)

Providing clients with a high standard of litigation and advocacy helps you deliver these Outcomes and requires you to act in a principled way: 
1.    You avoid unnecessary expense or waste of the court’s time.
2.    You do not offer or make payments to a witness. 1 
3.    You do not say something which is merely scandalous or which seeks only to insult, vilify or annoy a witness or other person.
4.    Wherever possible you do not name in open court any person if by doing so their character is, or is likely to be, impugned.
5.    You do not devise facts to assist in advancing the client’s case.
6.    You advise the Client that your duties to the court override your responsibilities to them.
7.    You do not pressurise a witness; in particular you do not do anything which gives rise to a significant risk that a witness will give evidence which is not truthful.
8.    You deal sensitively with the evidence of child witnesses and other vulnerable persons, and hold it securely.
9.    You may refuse to act as an advocate under a conditional fee agreement or where you are offered a fee which you can reasonably be expected to consider inappropriate.
10.    If 9 is applicable, you inform the client in advance why you are ceasing to act and ask the client to agree to you passing their instructions onto another advocate. 
11.    When appearing as an advocate you do not assert any person is guilty of a crime, fraud or misconduct, unless you consider the assertion is reasonably supported and is material to your client’s case.
12.    If you become aware that you have inadvertently misled the court, you, with your client’s agreement, immediately inform the court; if the client does not agree to this, you stop acting for them.
13.    You do not call into question the character of a witness unless you have given them the opportunity to answer the allegation under cross-examination.
1 Except reasonable expenses and reasonable compensation for loss of time attending court

 

Recognised Body Code

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Recognised Body Code

Outcomes-focused

Only those bodies able and willing to deliver the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes are recognised as CLC Recognised Bodies.

Delivering these Outcomes requires all Recognised Bodies and their stakeholders to act in a principled way in accordance with the 6 Overriding Principles:

1.            Act with independence and integrity;

2.            Maintain high standards of work;

3.            Act in the best interests of your Clients;

4.            Comply with your duty to the court; 

5.            Deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way;

6.            Promote equality of access and service.

This Code is in place to help ensure Recognised Bodies meet these responsibilities. 

Recognised Body Code

In this Code ‘you’ refers to Recognised Bodies regulated by the CLC, except where ‘you’ is provided under the heading of a designated role in which case the ‘you’ refers to that role. Any stakeholder in the Recognised Body must not act or fail to act, nor permit anyone else to act or fail to act in such a way as to amount to a breach of this Code.

Governance and operational arrangements

Principles

 1.    You ensure all managers and employees understand and comply with their regulatory responsibilities and do not compromise the body’s duty to the Court or Client.

       2.    You enable the Managers to discharge their regulatory responsibilities.

       3.    You enable Authorised Persons to comply with their own regulatory responsibilities.

4.    You systematically prevent, identify and address improper influence, allowing independence to be maintained and the rule of law to be upheld.

5.    You provide a mechanism by which staff can identify regulatory concerns, and any finance-related concerns to any Manager.

6.    You operate complaints-handling procedures which consider complaints about the Recognised Body and any of its Managers or employees.

Specific Requirements

7.    You have at least one Manager who is a  CLC Lawyer and have applied for/obtained CLC approval of any such individual.

8.    At least one Manager has experience and qualifications appropriate to the body’s profile.

9.    At least one Manager is a member of the senior management team.

10.  You provide at least one Manager with access to the Recognised Body’s managers and staff and the CLC whenever necessary and their views are taken into account and the recommendations taken forward wherever possible.

11.  You specifically authorise at least one Manager to dissent from collective responsibility when reporting to the CLC.

12.  You ensure the at least one Manager is notified of any ‘fit and proper’ issue concerning any owner, or Authorised Person.

Business arrangements

Specific requirements

13.  You have at least one Authorised Person, authorised to provide each reserved legal activity the Recognised Body delivers.

14.  You do not employ any person disqualified from being employed by a CLC Body or any person who is not fit and proper.

Manager

Principles

       15.  You understand the regulatory responsibilities of the Recognised Body.

       16.  You act upon regulatory responsibility concerns raised by staff.

17.  You keep up- to-date with legislative and regulatory requirements through targeted Continuous Professional Development.

18.  You ensure Authorised Persons employed by the body are fit and proper.

19.  You report to the CLC any governance concerns including improper influence.

Specific Requirements - of the Individual

20.  You are an Authorised Person in relation to one or more reserved legal activity.

21.  You are a ‘fit and proper’ person and declare to the Recognised Body and the CLC any factors affecting this.

Specific Requirementsof responsibility

22. You ensure the Recognised Body complies with CLC regulatory arrangements and any authorisations, permissions and conditions on its Certificate of Recognition, promptly reporting any breach to the CLC.

23.  You ensure Authorised Persons are able to comply with their regulatory responsibilities, promptly reporting to the CLC any breach of this.

24.  You ensure that no Non-Authorised Person employee causes or substantially contributes to the Recognised Body or any of its employees, breaching any regulatory responsibility, promptly reporting to the CLC any failures to comply.

25.  You ensure you are informed promptly of any circumstance identified under the CLC  Notification Code.

       26.  You protect client money and assets at all times.

27.  You provide administrative arrangements to support the maintenance of high standard of work

28.  You ensure the Recognised Body complies with the CLC’s treatment of money requirements, promptly reporting any breach of these.

29.  You ensure that proper records are maintained to evidence the Recognised Body’s management and supervision arrangements and how they are applied

30.  You promptly report to the CLC when the body is in financial distress or is at significant risk of becoming financially distressed.

Handbook - Other

Overview

The new regulatory regime is underpinned by the Handbook which sets out the regulatory responsibilities of all individuals and firms regulated by us.

CLC Regulation and Enforcement Policy

To view the printable PDF version, please click here.

Regulatory approach

Introduction – as both an Approved Regulator and Licensing Authority the CLC must, so far as is reasonably practicable, act in a way which is compatible with the regulatory objectives:

  1. protect and promote the public interest;
  2. support the constitutional principle of the rule of law;
  3. improve access to justice;
  4. protect and promote the interests of consumers;
  5. promote competition in the provision of legal services;
  6. encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession;
  7. increase public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties;
  8. promote and maintain adherence to the professional principles.
     

The key elements of the CLC’s promotion of these objectives are:
               

  • An Outcomes-focused and evidence and risk-based approach to our work;
  • Working with the regulated community to maintain and improve high standards of professional behaviour;
  • Helping the regulated community to help themselves – helping to change behaviours through provision of advice, support and guidance;
  • Applying our resources where they are needed most and resolving issues informally wherever possible/appropriate;
  • Enabling those we regulate to innovate and compete;
  • Anticipating potential regulatory problems and addressing or preventing them wherever possible. 

This section explains what we are seeking to achieve as a regulator of legal services and how we seek to put the above into practice.

 

1.            Regulatory Aims

1.1          The CLC has three key regulatory aims:

  • those we regulate deliver high standards of service to consumers and to the wider public;
  • there are high standards of conduct among those we regulate; and
  •  there is an effective and proportionate regulatory framework in operation.

 1. 2. To achieve these aims we must:

  • promote a wide, shared understanding amongst the regulated community of the Outcomes we require them to deliver;
  • operate regulatory arrangements which deliver the intended Outcomes;
  • ensure each member of the regulated community has the right people, systems, skills and knowledge to meet their regulatory responsibilities;
  • operate a regulatory approach which is accountable, consistent, proportionate targeted, and transparent.

2.            The Principles of our Regulatory Philosophy

2.1          Accountable - we are accountable to a range of stakeholders, not least clients and the regulated community itself, and so we try our best to ensure our regulatory activities demonstrate accountability to all those with an interest in the way we regulate. To this end, our Code of Conduct sets out the Outcomes our regulatory arrangements seek to deliver to clients.

2.2          Consistent - all regulatory decisions are based on evidence applying the civil standard of proof (‘balance of probabilities’). We review our compliance monitoring approach and the responses it generates to ensure they are consistently applied.

2.3          Proportionate - an issue which gives rise to, or is likely to give rise to, a risk to the delivery of the Outcomes will be discussed with the individual/body. Their capacity and/or willingness to address the issue will help inform our response. Our response will be proportionate to the seriousness, circumstance and impact – actual or potential – of the risk to an individual client, clients in general and the legal profession.

2.3.1      We support those who alert us to their own regulatory failings. We provide support and guidance where needed. As long as clients are not at risk and the body/individual is addressing the failure(s) in a reasonable way we are less likely to take formal enforcement action.  Regulatory action will be considered for those who commit relatively minor regulatory breaches on a regular basis and who fail to respond to more informal resolution approaches.

2.3.2      Whenever possible/appropriate we work informally with regulated entities to address any risks, but where serious issues are apparent or suspected, we will take formal enforcement action to safeguard the interests of the public and clients.

2.4          Targeted - our risk-based approach identifies those bodies/activities that pose the greatest risk to the delivery of the Outcomes. This enables us to focus our attention and resources on those most likely to harm the interests of the public and legal services consumers.

2.4.1      We believe in a right-touch, not light-touch, approach to regulation. We maintain contact with all members of the regulated community, but seek to focus our resources on those demonstrating higher risks. Those who comply with the CLC’s Overriding Principles, who deliver the required Outcomes and engage positively with us will be left to get on with their business with minimum supervision.

2.5          Transparent - we make every effort to ensure that the regulated community and other stakeholders are kept informed about our regulatory philosophy; the aims and the requirements of the regulatory arrangements; and any threats to their effective operation.

2.5.1      We are continuously increasing the emphasis placed upon education and awareness-raising to help the regulated community to help themselves.

2.5.2      The respondent will have the opportunity to make representationsprior to a determination being made. Where the need for enforcement action has been determined we will provide the relevant body and/or individual with clear reasons for the decision at the time the action is determined.

3.            Regulation in practice - how our regulatory philosophy is reflected in our work

3.1          Licence determination - we require all applicants to provide us with a range of information so we are able to determine any risk presented to the delivery of the CLC Code of Conduct’s Outcomes should we license the individual/body. The information provided will be verified to ensure the risk can be reliably calculated. This process will also include a formal interview for the new applicant.

3.1.2      The information enables us to determine whether a licence should be granted, granted with conditions, or declined. Licence conditions will be imposed where additional safeguards are needed to address a potential risk. Where the severity of the risk posed could not be countered through conditions, the licence will be declined.

3.1.3      We inspect all entities new to CLC regulation. An inspection may be carried out remotely or through a site visit, depending upon the nature of the entity and any risks identified in the initial analysis. All new entities are required to attend an Induction Day which provides an introduction to the CLC’s regulatory requirements alongside examples of good practice.

3.2          Risk Assessment - our regulatory relationship with a member of the regulated community is informed by an assessment of the risks they or their activities pose to the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes. To be confident of our resource allocations we must identify and measure the capacity for, or, actual harm, and of the likelihood of an occurrence of actual harm, to these.  This includes consideration of factors such as:   

  • reliability of the evidence provided;
  • the body’s regulatory responsibility arrangements;   
  • seriousness of the act or omission and the likely impact on consumers, CLC’s regulated community and public confidence;    
  • if the breach is/was deliberate or vexatious;
  • seriousness of the information provided and the likely impact on a client, clients in general, the CLC’s regulated community and public confidence;
  • the body’s activities and/or client type;
  • Information about the entity’s finances;   
  • foreign ownership (our scope for data verification may be limited in some instances);
  • past compliance performance;
  • risk-management systems, including anti-money laundering arrangements;
  • management competence and inclination to address issues;
  • qualifications and experience of the Head of Legal Practice and the Head of Finance and Administration;   
  • conflicts of interests arrangements;   
  • improper influence arrangements;
  • complaints-handling arrangements;
  • recognised external accreditation.

3.2.1      The CLC regulatory risk register contains a range of information including CLC inspection findings; complaints; Accounting Reports information; negligence claims; and information from other stakeholders, such as lenders, police or clients. Members of the regulated community are allocated an overall regulatory risk profile according to the information held. Those with a higher rating will have a more intensive regulatory relationship with the CLC than lower-risk entities.

3.3          Monitoring - we collect information to help us monitor how effectively our regulatory arrangements are operating. Much of this is obtained from regulated community returns. We analyse the information received and carry out a risk assessment of the data provided.

3.3.1      We aim to keep information requirements to a pertinent but meaningful minimum e.g. we do not ask those we regulate to supply us with unnecessary information, or the same information twice. We are continuously determining the proportionality of the frequency/size of our information submission requests. Returns are simpler and quicker to complete through online submissions; as well as more timely, so we are able to respond more quickly to identified risks.

3.3.2      When a potential risk is identified we will investigate. This may include an inspection, which may be carried out remotely or through a site visit. Our monthly monitoring reports check that an inspection has been justified and conducted impartially. We conduct an interview with the entity at the end of the inspection and provide a full written report identifying our findings and any improvements we recommend. Wherever possible, we provide support and guidance to address the risks identified.

3.4          Guidance, support and advice - we try our best to ensure that our guidance, support and advice provision is authoritative, appropriate and helpful as well as easy to access and understand.  We provide advice and toolkits on specific issues, as well as general guidance. Wherever possible/appropriate we will approach an identified compliance issue with advice provision rather than regulatory or formal enforcement action.   

3.4.1      We obtain information from a range of sources, including the regulated community and economic and market-specific information. Where a thematic risk is identified we will tailor our guidance, advice, events and publication provision to help explain - and where possible, mitigate - any inherent or emerging risks which may affect or threaten the regulated community as a whole.

3.4.2      Our ongoing commitment to education means we will provide more awareness-raising materials such as case studies, expected standards and best practice examples.

Enforcement Approach

Introduction

This section explains how the CLC identifies and responds to non-compliance with its regulatory requirements - as identified in the Code of Conduct and other regulatory arrangements. It seeks to provide the regulated community and other stakeholders with guidance on examples of regulatory breaches, how the CLC identifies these non-compliance issues and the framework within which it will respond to these. Its aim is to encourage appropriate conduct and deter inappropriate behaviour so that clients receive the standard of legal services that they should reasonably expect to receive.

The CLC’s Code of Conduct requires those we regulate to comply with its Overriding Principles to:

  • act with independence and integrity;
  • maintain high standards of work;
  • act in the best interests of their clients;
  • comply with your duty to the court;
  • deal with regulators and ombudsmen in an open and co-operative way;
  • promote equality of access and services

in order that positive Outcomes are delivered, particularly for Clients.

The vast majority of the CLC’s regulated community act in a way which is consistent with these principles.  However, where this is not the case, we will take enforcement measures.

We aim to deliver effective, fair and consistent risk-based regulation. Our approach to enforcement will be targeted particularly on those areas we judge to most threaten the regulatory objectives through the risk they pose to the delivery of positive outcomes, particularly for clients.

Depending upon the nature of the matter our approach may be to seek informal resolution or may involve regulatory action.  The CLC will, wherever possible, try to achieve an informal resolution, to provide a more timely and satisfactory outcome for clients and saving both the resources of the licensee and the CLC. We will engage in dialogue with the respondent, encouraging good practice through guidance and support.

Where an informal approach has been unsuccessful or is not judged appropriate because of the actual (or perceived risk of) detriment to clients, the CLC will initiate the disciplinary powers available.

All enforcement processes will be exercised in a way which is transparent, accountable, consistent, proportionate and targeted in keeping with the Regulator’s Compliance Code and the Legal Services Act 2007.

4.            What is meant by Enforcement?

4.1          We must ensure the regulated community meets the needs of clients by complying with both the law and our regulatory requirements. Where they fail in these responsibilities we will hold them to account. Actions taken to encourage compliant behaviour or to punish non-compliance are known as enforcement. Enforcement action will be based upon reliable evidence, clear standards and the ability to appeal enforcement decisions. It is our aim that our enforcement approach is helpful, open, accountable and transparent. Our enforcement activities will be proportionate, consistent and targeted at cases where action is needed. This does not mean that less serious breaches will go unchecked, it means they will receive a proportionate response so that less serious breaches do not receive the same penalties as more serious or repeated breaches.

4.2          The enforcement tool applied in a matter will be proportionate to the risks identified to the regulatory objectives in the form of a threat to the delivery of the positive outcomes identified in our Code of Conduct, due to non-compliance with our regulatory arrangements

4.3          Regulation and enforcement will be proportionate and flexible enough to encourage economic progress within the regulated community. We will not seek to cause unnecessary expense to an individual; any penalty imposed will be fair.

4.4          Informal resolution is desirable to the regulated community, its clients and the CLC and its appropriateness to an issue will always be considered. We will check to see that any agreed course of action is implemented. We will usually seek to take this route before considering regulatory or disciplinary action. Where this is not appropriate – due to the immediate, serious and/or widespread nature of the issue - or it has not achieved the desired outcome we will determine what further action is needed. We will be open to the individual/body providing fresh evidence not previously available, or to them proposing a compliance remedy.

4.5          We will assess the evidence applying the civil standard of proof (‘balance of probabilities) and in determining our response we will take account of the impact on a client, clients in general and on the respondent. The respondent will be afforded the opportunity to make representations.

4.6          We have a range of enforcement tools at our disposal should an informal response not be appropriate. We will only exercise our disciplinary powers if the act or omission of a regulated body or individual was a serious breach. The seriousness of an act or omission will be judged on the impact, actual or potential, of the risk to delivery to the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes.

4.7          Each of the following enforcement tools may be used in isolation, simultaneously, or consecutively where the usage of one tool has not generated compliance (e.g. if licence conditions are not complied with, other enforcement action may be used):

4.7.1      Refer to an appropriate regulator - we are likely to refer the conduct of a manager or employee to the appropriate regulator where we have reason to believe that the individual’s behaviour is in breach of their regulatory responsibilities.

4.7.2      Reprimand - we are likely to issue a reprimand when an act or omission needs particular attention drawn to it, with the intention that the behaviour of the individual/body is changed.

4.7.3      Licence Conditions - we are likely to require the entity to take a specific actions where an act, omission or an arrangement needs to be rectified. Where this requires expenditure we will take into account the operational costs of that body. We will make every effort to ensure the condition/direction is understood by the body.

4.7.4a    Financial penalties - we are likely to direct the payment of a fine (by the body and/or an individual concerned with it i.e. an employee or owner) exceeding £50,000 only in serious circumstances. This will be used to penalise inappropriate behaviour demonstrated by a specific act or omission and to deter future non-compliance (by both the individual/body and others). The level of the penalty will take into account the size/resources of the body so it is proportionate whilst also at a level likely to give clients and the public confidence that issues which cause them detriment are dealt with appropriately. Should a number of breaches be separately investigated we may determine it appropriate for a separate penalty to be imposed in each case.

4.7.4b    We will not create a perverse incentive by providing details of the exact criteria/procedure which will be applied in setting the level of the fine. It will be determined on a case by case basis but we will always seek to ensure it is fair and proportionate and does not exceed the maximum levels (specified within this Policy).

4.7.4c    We do not benefit financially from any penalties imposed. Fines received from  CLC Lawyers or Recognised Bodies are paid into Her Majesty’s Treasury; those received from Licensed Bodies go into the Government’s Consolidated Fund.

4.7.5      Material interest conditions/objections/divestiture - where there are concerns that a material interest holder in Licensed Body may be demonstrating improper influence – i.e. an owner is influencing, or attempting to influence the decisions of a  Licensed Body or the conduct of Authorised Persons in a way which would constitute a breach of their regulatory duties - we will take action. Where there are mild concerns this is likely to take the form of conditions; where the concerns are more serious we are likely to object to the interest and this may ultimately result in divestiture.

4.7.6      Withdrawal of approval – we are likely to withdraw our approval of a Licensed Body’s Head of Legal Practice or Head of Finance and Administration where the individual has become demonstrably inappropriate for the role e.g. an event has occurred which impacts upon their fit and proper status or they repeatedly fail to meet their regulatory responsibilities.

4.7.7      Disqualification - we are likely to disqualify an individual from a role within a Licensed Body or a CLC Lawyer from holding a licence only in exceptional circumstances and where the seriousness of the act or omission means that no other enforcement action is judged adequate to address it.

4.7.8a    Licence suspension or revocation - the decision to suspend or revoke a licence will not be taken lightly.  We will only use this measure where, due to the seriousness and/or persistence of the act or omission – or the body has changed its structure/provision arrangements so it is no longer licensable - no other enforcement action is judged adequate to address the identified issue.

4.7.8b    We will need to be satisfied that clients' interests are protected and this may include a/all Client’s case being transferred to another firm. (Suspension is likely to lead to the enforced closure of the CLC Body unless the reason for the suspension is cured very quickly, in which case intervention and its case management processes will take place). 

4.7.8c    Licence suspension does not automatically mean licence revocation. A licence may be suspended because a significant threat to clients has been identified. Where this is found not to be the case or where we (or the First Tier Tribunal) are satisfied that a risk is no longer presented the licence is unlikely to be revoked. Where this is the case, the body may be subject to a more intensive regulatory relationship in order that we are confident that the risks to clients is minimised.

4.7.9a    Intervention - intervention is an extreme measure and will only be used where no other enforcement action is judged adequate to address the identified issue due to the seriousness and persistence of the act or omission or if the body’s viability is threatened or it becomes insolvent. As with all enforcement actions, we will carefully assess the proportionality of the proposed response. We can revoke an intervention direction following the body’s request (but only where all relevant information corroborates that to do so would not cause a risk to the Code of Conduct’s Outcomes).

4.7.9b    Where intervention has been necessary the body’s licence/certificate is automatically suspended.

Suspension of a Licence on intervention

4.8          The exercise by the CLC of its powers of intervention in respect of a CLC Body operates immediately to suspend the licence of any CLC Lawyer who is manager or employee of that Body.

4.9          At the time when it exercises the powers of intervention the CLC may direct that such power is not to apply in relation to a particular CLC Lawyer (subject to such conditions, if any, as the CLC sees fit to impose), but only if:

4.9.1      (where that power of intervention is exercised because of a breach of the rules) the CLC is satisfied that:

4.9.1a    the CLC Lawyer did not fail to comply with the rules applicable to the CLC Body, or contribute to the failure by the CLC Body to comply with such rules; and

4.9.1b    the CLC is satisfied that the CLC Lawyer was not a manager or employee of the CLC Body when the conduct providing the basis for the exercise of the power of intervention took place; and

4.9.2      (where the power of intervention is exercised because of suspected dishonesty) the CLC:

4.9.2a    does not suspect the CLC Lawyer of dishonesty; and

4.9.2b    the CLC is satisfied that the CLC Lawyer was not a manager or employee of the CLC Body when the conduct providing the basis for the exercise of the powers of intervention is suspected of having taken place.

5.           Scope of the CLC’s Enforcement Powers

5.1          We may take enforcement action against:

  • Bodies;
  • CLC Lawyers; and
  • Owners, Managers and employees of CLC Bodies.

5.2          In this Policy we use the term “respondent” and “the regulated community” to refer to any of those listed at 5.1

5.3          Information sources - information on possible breaches of regulatory responsibilities is obtained from a number of sources, including:

  • A body proactively admitting non-compliance by act or omission – all bodies we regulate must advise us if they are failing to comply with the CLC’s regulatory arrangements. We will support those who alert us to their failings. We are unlikely to take formal disciplinaryaction as long as clients are not at risk and the entity is addressing the failures identified in a reasonable way;

  • Information from stakeholders, including complaints from clients or information from lenders, police and findings of other regulatory or professional bodies etc;

  • Overall regulatory risk profile according to the CLC’s risk register. The register holds a range of regulatory information including CLC inspection findings, complaints, Accounting Reports information and negligence claims.

5.4          Regulatory breaches – The following are examples of allegations of breaches which may lead to enforcement proceedings (this list is not exhaustive and is not ranked):

  • Persons no longer ‘fit and proper’;

  • Failures in governance arrangements;

  • Fraud and dishonesty;

  • Improper influence;

  • Failure to comply with the CLC’s regulatory arrangements;

  • Ineffective complaints-handling procedures;

  • Failure to provide the CLC with information, or provision of false, incomplete or misleading information;

  • Failure to pay any CLC annual fee or contribution.

5.5          Risk - We take a risk-based approach to regulation.  That means that in determining what (if any) action to take when non-compliance is brought to our attention we will determine the impact that risk is likely to have on the Overriding Principles and the Outcomes they seek. We will take into account some or all of the following:

  • the seriousness of the act or omission and the likely or actual impact on an individual client, clients in general and the regulated community;

  • the intended outcome for clients in taking action compared with the impact of not taking action;

  • the effect the particular breach is likely to have on:

    • the reputation of the rest of the profession; and
    • public confidence in those services and on the CLC’s Regulatory Arrangements;
  • the extent to which the act or omission is a one-off occurrence or is part of a series of similar matters or appears to be deliberate or vexatious;

  • the period of time over which the act or omission has occurred;

  • management competence and willingness to comply;

  • the existence of good systems for managing risks;

  • evidence of recognised external accreditation;

  • whether the resource requirements needed are proportionate to achieving the desired results; and

  • any other matters that it appears appropriate to take into account.

5.6          Decision-makingenforcement decisions taken by the CLC will be informed by all available, relevant and reliable evidence, and will be based upon criteria published on our website. Decisions will be taken on the evidence applying the civil standard of proof (‘balance of probabilities’).   Account will be taken of the impact on clients, the impact on the respondent and the reliability of the available evidence. The respondent will be afforded the opportunity to reply; we will be open to the individual/body providing fresh evidence not previously available, or to them proposing a compliance remedy. Enforcement decisions made will be regularly and systematically scrutinised to ensure that criteria are being consistently applied.

5.7          Review/appeal of decisions - the respondent may ask for any decision to be reviewed by the Adjudication Panel.  The respondent will also be entitled to appeal.  Depending on the nature of the decision made, and who makes it, the appeal may be heard by the the First Tier Tribunal with the possibility, in some cases, of appealing to the Upper Chamber on a point of law (see Table at 6.3.1). In the case of informal, regulatory or disciplinary action taken by CLC staff the matter will be referred to their line manager or another Director (with no prior involvement in the matter) who will review the decision.   Either the Respondent or the CLC may appeal against a determination made by the Adjudication Panel. All requests for appeal to the FTT must be made within 28 days of the determination, unless otherwise directed by the FTT.

5.8          Stay –the Adjudication Panel, may provide that an order or direction is not to have effect pending the hearing and determination of a review or an appeal taking into account the CLC’s statutory duty to act in a way which is compatible with the regulatory objectives (in particular those relating to the consumer interest and the public interest) and to have regard to the principles under which regulatory activities should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted only at cases in which action is needed.  

5.9          Decision-makers – all staff with delegated powers and all members of the Adjudication Panel receive training to ensure that decisions are made consistently and to assist in the determination of appropriate sanctions.  The Committees are made up of lay members and members of the regulated community.

5.10        Matters which may be excluded – Other than in exceptional circumstances, we do not generally investigate these issues:

  • Conduct which does not relate to the provision of legal services regulated by the CLC;
  • Disputes between an employer and employee;
  • Partnership disputes, unless the interests of clients are adversely affected or there is a finding of a court or tribunal;
  • Non-payment of fees incurred in the course of providing services regulated by the CLC, unless there is a judgment against the regulated person for non-payment relating to their legal practice;
  • Allegations from lending institutions of a failure to hand over deeds or papers to which the lender is entitled, unless the lender has already made a successful application to the court;
  • An isolated report of misconduct from a regulated person about a  CLC Lawyer or CLC Body, unless there is an allegation of serious misconduct, or it is made on the instructions of a client, or is made to protect the interests of an identifiable client who has an interest in the outcome;
  • Allegations of misconduct made more than twelve months after the alleged misconduct could reasonably have come to light;
  • Where there is a clear alternative legal remedy available which has not yet been pursued. Allegations of discrimination or dishonesty are not excluded.

6.            Enforcement Tools

6.1          Enforcement can take many forms. The framework for responding to issues of non-compliance varies, depending on the identified risk, from the informal to the application of the CLC’s statutory powers.

6.2          Informal/Regulatory Action Approach – delegated powers of CLC staff:

Enforcement tool

 

Authority

Review of Decision

An Undertaking on terms agreed with the CLC to take or cease taking a particular action

 

 

 

CLC staff:

Legal Practice Inspector, CLC Authorised Officer or other CLC employee of equivalent or senior position

 

  • Director of Operations

 

  • Director of Policy & Standards,

 

or other CLC employee of equivalent or senior position (provided any review is not determined by an employee who made the determination which is the subject of the review)

 

Inspection or re-inspection

 

Reminder of responsibilities

 

Provision of information and advice

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

6.3          Approach using statutory powers in 1985 Act and 2007 Act

6.3.1      The CLC may take a wide range of formal enforcement proceedings and (depending on the nature of those proceedings) this may result in one or more of the following for the individual or body (this list is not exhaustive):

Enforcement tool

 

Statutory

Authority

 

Determination made by

 Appeal determined by

Further appeal on a point of law determined by

Licence terminated

1985 Act s.18(3)

Lacks mental capacity

No statutory provision

 

 

Licence/certificate

Revoked

1985 Act s.26(2)(a)

CLC  Adjudication  Panel

 

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

1985 Act s.28 fraud or error

CLC  Adjudication  Panel

First Tier Tribunal

No statutory provision

2007 Act s101

CLC  Adjudication  Panel

  First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

 

Intervention

Sch 5 1985 Act

Any Director with the agreement of not less than one other member of the Senior Management Team

 First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Para 10-12 of Sch 5 1985 Act

 

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Sch 14 2007 Act

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

 

Disqualified from holding a licence/ role

s.26(2)(b) 1985 Act

CLC  Adjudication Panel

 

 

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

s.99 2007 Act

CLC  Adjudication Panel

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Divestiture of owner

2007 Act,  Sch. 13, Part 5

CLC  Adjudication Panel

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

 

Licence/Certificate suspended

 

 

 

Licence/Certificate suspended

1985 Act s.18

immediate on bankruptcy

 

No statutory provision

1985 Act s.18

immediate on  intervention

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

1985 Act s.24(5)

 

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

 First Tier Tribunal

 

 

Upper Chamber

1985 Act s.26(2)(c)

CLC  Adjudication Panel

2007 Act s101

  • CLC Adjudication
  • Panel

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Withdrawal of approval of HoLP or HoFA

Para 11-12 sch 11 2007 Act

CLC Adjudication Panel

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

 

Licence/Certificate made subject to conditions

 

1985 Act

s.15(1)

s.16(2)

s.17(1)

CLC Staff:   CLC Authorised Officer

 

 

CLC Adjudication

Panel

 

1985 Act s.26(2)(d)

  • CLC Adjudication

Panel

 First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

2007 Act Sch. 11 (6)

CLC Adjudication Panel

 First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

 

Payment of a penalty

 

1985 Act s.24A(1) and Adjudication Panel Rules 2013

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

 

 

First Tier Tribunal

 

 

 

Upper Chamber

1985 Act s.26(2)(e) and Adjudication Panel Rules 2013

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

2007 Act s. 95

CLC Adjudication Panel

First Tier

Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Reprimand

 

1985 Act s.26(2)(f)

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

First Tier Tribunal

Upper Chamber

Payment of the costs of preliminary investigation (to include the costs of any inspection) incurred by the CLC

 

1985 Act s.24A(2)

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

 

 

 

 First Tier Tribunal

 

 

Upper Chamber

 

1985 Act s.26(2A)

CLC Adjudication Panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                         

Abbreviations

HoLPHead of Legal Practice; HoFA - Head of Finance & Administration

 

7.            Enforcement Process

7.1          Informal approach - staff investigation and advice: in the event of the CLC becoming aware that a member of its regulated community may have failed to comply with our standards, we shall carry out an informal inquiry to enable us to decide whether there is a case that requires further investigation. If we are satisfied there is not an issue, no action will be taken. If there is judged to be an issue, but it is less serious, then we will take informal action and offer advice, support and guidance to help address the issue.

7.2          Regulatory action - staff delegated powers: if we are satisfied further investigation is required, the support offered has not been accepted, or the individual/body commits relatively minor breaches on a regular basis and fails to respond to our informal resolution approaches, we shall consider whether it is likely that the case can be resolved by regulatory action. We may direct the CLC Lawyer or CLC Body to provide information to assure us that their regulatory requirements are being complied with. This may be in a written report, or may require the respondent to attend the CLC's offices to explain how the issues identified will be resolved and the steps needed to enure they do not recur.

7.3          Dependent on the circumstances of the individual case, we may take the view that the Outcomes can best be delivered by agreeing with the regulated person the terms of an undertaking to provide information, to take specific action, or to cease taking a specific action. Failure to comply with the undertaking will in itself be a breach of the CLC's regulatory arrangements, which will lead to an investigation, and possibly disciplinary proceedings.

7.4          Disciplinary action - Adjudication Panel hearing: disciplinary proceedings may be initiated where steps taken under paragraphs 7.1 - 7.3 have failed to achieve the intended outcome, or it is not appropriate because of the actual or likely impact on a client, or clients, or because of the serious nature of the issue. Decisions will be informed by all available, relevant and reliable evidence. Decisions will be based on the application of published guidelines or criteria set out in the Enforcement Policy. The respondent will be afforded the opportunity to make oral and/or written representations to the Adjudication Panel.

7.5          The CLC may:

  • require a regulated entity to provide specific information
  • authorise an inspection of a body
  • refer the matter to the Adjudication Panel

7.6          [removed] 

7.7          The Adjudication Panel will decide which of the following options is appropriate to the case:

  1. to dismiss the allegation;
  2. to hear and determine the allegation
  3. (removed)

7.8          (removed)

7.9          (removed)

In the case of an individual CLC Lawyer or a Recognised Body, a preliminary investigation has determined that the allegation should be referred for hearing and determination, and after considering the evidence and submissions made by the Parties, the Adjudication Panel (with a quorum of three) may make one or more of the following orders.

7.9.1

a CLC Lawyer:

  • Revoke the licence of a  CLC Lawyer
  • Disqualify a CLC Lawyer from holding a licence (either permanently or for a specified period)
  • Suspend a licence
  • Direct the issue of a licence subject to conditions it may specify
  • Direct the payment of a fine which is fair and proportionate, and does not exceed £50 million
  • Reprimand the CLC Lawyer

a Recognised Body or sole practitioner practice regulated by the CLC

  • Revoke the recognition of the entity
  • Direct the payment of a fine which is fair and proportionate, and does not exceed £250 million
  • Reprimand the entity
  • Direct the issue of a certificate of recognition subject to conditions it may specify

a Manager or employee who is not a CLC Lawyer

  • Direct the payment of fine which is fair and proportionate, not exceeding £50 million
  • Require the CLC to take such steps as it may specify in relation to the Manager or employee
  • Require the CLC to refer to an appropriate regulator any matter relating to the conduct of the Manager or employee

7.9.2      The Adjudication Panel may direct the payment of costs by any party to proceedings including the CLC.  Such costs may include the costs incurred in a preliminary investigation.

7.9.3      A respondent may appeal to the  First Tier Tribunal against a decision of the Adjudication Panel which may make such order as it thinks fit.

7.9.4      [removed]

7.9.5      In the case of Licensed ABS Body, or an employee or manager within, or owner, of the Licensed ABS Body, the Adjudication Panel (with a quorum of 3)may make one or more of the following orders:

a Licensed Body:

  • Reprimand the body
  • Direct the issue of a licence subject to conditions it may specify
  • Direct the payment of afine which is fair and proportionate, not exceeding £250 million
  • Suspend the licence of the body
  • Revoke the licence of the body
  • Intervene

a Licensed Body owner:

  • Place conditions on the owner’s material interest
  • Object to the owner’s material interest, and initiate the applicationto the High Court to divest the owner of their material interest  
  • Direct the payment of a fine which is fair and proportionate, not exceeding £50 million

a Head of Legal Practice (HoLP) or Head of Finance & Administration (HoFA):

  • Require the CLC to take such steps as it may specify in relation to the HoLP or HoFA
  • Direct the payment of a fine which is fair and proportionate, not exceeding £50 million
  • Withdraw approval of the individual for the role
  • Disqualify the individual from a role within a Licensed Body

a manager or employee:

  • Direct the payment of a fine which is fair and proportionate fine, not exceeding £50 million
  • Require the CLC to take such steps as it may specify in relation to the manager or employee
  • Require the CLC to refer to an appropriate regulator any matter relating to the conduct of the manager or employee
  • Disqualify the individual from a role in the Licensed Body.

7.9.6      Any determination made by the Adjudication Panel may be appealed to the First Tier Tribunal.  The CLC or the respondent may appeal  to the First Tier Tribunal against a determination of the Adjudication Panel and then to the Upper Chamber on a point of law. 

8.            Publication

8.1          Publication of investigation outcomes – the CLC will publish the statistics mapping the outcome of investigations so that the levels of compliance in the regulated community can be understood.

8.2          Publication of determinations - publishing the determinations of the Adjudication Panel  acts as an incentive for the regulated community to positively apply the professional principles outlined in the Code of Conduct. It also provides the public with confidence that the regulatory activities of the CLC are responsive and proportionate.

8.3          We will publish details of any disciplinary determination made by the Adjudication Panel including the name of the respondent. Whether or not an application has been made, the Adjudication Panel may direct the CLC not to name the respondent in any notice of hearing or determination if in its opinion, to do so would:

  1. prejudice legal proceedings or regulatory or disciplinary investigations;

  2. risk breaching a person’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, or

  3. not be just.

Unless otherwise directed by the Adjudication Panel, any disciplinary determination made against an individual or firm, will remain listed on the CLC website for the duration of any suspension, disqualification, or other sanction, subject to a minimum of 2 years from the date of publication.  The respondent may ask the CLC not to include their name in any disciplinary determination which is published where the case against them has been dismissed. In exceptional circumstances we may publish details of the progress of an investigation which has given rise to significant public concern.

8.4          The CLC is registered as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 and must comply with the rules of good information handling.

9.            Equalities Considerations

9.1          It is our intention that the application of this policy is fair and equitable and does not disadvantage anyone because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or faith, sex or sexual orientation. Members of the regulated community subject to CLC enforcement action are asked to advise the CLC of any specific requirements they have which need to be taken into consideration. These will be accommodated as far as is reasonably practicable and on a case-by-case basis. 

9.2          The CLC will monitor its enforcement action to ensure there is no disproportionate impact on any sections of the regulated community.

10.          Policy Consultation, Review & Evaluation

10.1        The CLC will carry out an investigation in accordance with its complaints policy into any complaint received from an individual or body about the way in which the CLC has exercised its functions in relation to that individual or body (except where a referral is or has been made to the Adjudication Panel due to the options of review/appeal applicable).

10.2        This policy came into effect in October 2011 and has been reviewed in July 2013.  We shall consult with stakeholders to evaluate its effectiveness within 2 years of its initial application. Where the policy is failing to generate the relevant outcomes - identified in the Code of Conduct it will be amended as appropriate. In the meantime, we welcome any feedback on the policy’s content, implementation and effectiveness.

10.3        This policy is available for reference and downloading from the CLC website. A copy of the policy will be available to all those involved in disciplinary enquiries and proceedings