Money Laundering Concern
Scope of This Procedure
This procedure is specifically intended to be used if you wish to raise a whistleblowing concern about money laundering activity that involves or is associated with a barrister in Northern Ireland. If you do not want to raise a specific Money laundering concern but rather want to make a different complaint about a barrister, please visit our website at https://www.barofni.com/page/making-a-complaint.
If you are a barrister and want to contact us in relation to a fellow barrister, the Code of Conduct (Section 9.11) requires that a barrister shall report evidence of misconduct by another barrister to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). This provision remains in place and barristers should ensure that they make every effort to comply with this provision.
The General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland (The Bar Council) is the supervisory authority for barristers in the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland.
Barristers in Northern Ireland are self-employed individuals and are sole traders. They operate with the support of shared services made available to them from the Bar Library in Belfast.
Barristers in Northern Ireland are not permitted to engage in direct access work meaning that they can only receive work from instructing solicitors who are supervised by the Law Society of Northern Ireland. The instructing solicitor maintains the relationship with the lay client.
Barristers in Northern Ireland are not permitted to hold or handle client money. They are paid by the instructing solicitor and are not permitted to have any financial relationship with the lay client.
The Code of Conduct prohibits barristers in Northern Ireland from:
- (Section 11.8) entering into a partnership with another barrister, professional client or any other entity or individual and must not provide legal services within Northern Ireland in any capacity or as part of any entity or arrangement other than in his or her capacity as a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.
- (Section 11.9) a barrister must not enter into a fee sharing arrangement with another barrister, professional client or any other entity or individual.
About Money Laundering
Money laundering is the term used to describe the process by which criminals disguise where the proceeds of criminal activity have come from, making it appear to have come from a lawful source. Criminals sometimes do this with the help (knowingly or unknowingly) of professionals such as lawyers and accountants.
Barristers that we regulate must comply with the Money Laundering Regulations if the work that they do falls within the scope of the Regulations.
If you ever want to report a concern to us about a barrister that we regulate in connection with Money Laundering, you can do so. The process is straightforward and secure. The types of concerns that would be appropriate to raise would be:
- If you think that a barrister that we regulate is not complying with the Money Laundering Regulations.
- If you suspect that a barrister that we regulate could be involved (knowingly or unknowingly) in laundering criminal money or helping someone else to do so.
Raising your concerns – contact us in confidence
Call us at: 028 9056 2060
Email us at: email@example.com
What happens when you contact us
When you contact us we will:
- ask you to provide as much information as you are comfortable with. This might include names, dates, the type of wrongdoing and evidence you have; and
- talk through with you what we will do with the information you have given us.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject, we may not be able to keep you updated as to the progress of our investigation, but you can be assured that we will take your report very seriously.
The Bar Council are committed to applying these arrangements correctly. Provided that you are raising something in good faith and out of genuine concern, it will be taken seriously. Even if, in doing so, it emerges that concern was mistaken, the Bar Council will take all steps possible to ensure that you will not be at risk of suffering any form of detriment as a result.
If, having looked at the matter we realise that in fact it needs in fact to be brought to the attention of any other body, we shall do so and keep you informed. This may for example happen if we need to alert the Law Society of Northern Ireland to the concern or refer the matter to Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar or the statutory Legal Services Oversight Commissioner.
Of course, we reserve the right to reject and close down concerns that are malicious, known to be untrue or that have already been fully and properly investigated.
Whilst the Bar Council is not covered by the legislation related to whistleblowing and cannot therefore apply this to afford you legal protection, nevertheless with the assurances above, it is hoped that you will raise your concern openly.
However, it is recognised that there may be circumstances when you would prefer to maintain confidentiality if possible.
If this is the case, please say so at the outset. If you ask for your identity to not be disclosed, this will be respected and will not be disclosed without your consent unless required by law. You should understand that there may be times when the ability to resolve a concern may not be possible without revealing your identity, for example where your personal evidence is essential. In such cases, a discussion will take place with you about whether and how the matter can best proceed.