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Case Dismissed – Legal Giant Cleared in Landmark Case
March 19, 2024

1. Introduction

In a significant turn of events, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has faced a substantial setback in its pursuit of the world’s largest law firm by headcount, Dentons. Following a rigorous six-day hearing at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), all allegations against Dentons have been dismissed, leaving the SRA to bear the weight of its own costs.

2. SDT Dismisses Case Against Dentons

The crux of the SRA’s prosecution centred around allegations of breaching money laundering regulations due to Dentons’ retention of a client from 2013 to 2017. Despite the SRA’s insistence on insufficient checks by Dentons regarding the client’s source of wealth and funds, the tribunal ultimately found only one allegation proved, which was later dismissed as not warranting any sanction.

Notably, Dentons asserted that the SRA’s prosecution wasn’t founded on the money laundering regulations in place during the period under scrutiny. Moreover, Dentons highlighted its adherence to ‘gold standard’ Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems and processes, underlining its commitment to regulatory compliance and professional conduct.

The tribunal’s decision not to order Dentons to contribute to the SRA’s costs underscores the tribunal’s stance on the case’s merit and the SRA’s handling of the matter. While Dentons welcomes the dismissal of the SRA’s case, it acknowledges the necessity of ongoing vigilance in risk management and regulatory compliance.

In response to the outcome, Dentons emphasised its dedication to upholding the highest professional standards and pledged continued cooperation with the SRA. Meanwhile, the SRA is contemplating its next steps, including a potential appeal, pending the SDT’s written judgment.

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3. Enhancing AML Systems and Processes

As this case highlights, being able to display and prove high standards in AML systems and processes, management, and supervision, setting out how a firm operates, including the conduct expectations of staff, in a series of policies, procedures, and documents is essential for all law firms. Additionally, training all your staff on your firm’s policies, and recording it as proof, is vital.

At The Strategic Partner, we work with firms, their MLROs, MLCOs, and their COLPs and COFAs to provide tailored training and outsourced support solutions. Our objective is to help these firms effectively manage risk, compliance, and regulation. By establishing and maintaining a compliant structure, we aim to enable firms, their managers, and owners to concentrate on operating their businesses and delivering exceptional service to their clients.

If you believe your firm may be at risk or wish to confirm your firm is achieving, and exceeding the required standard, we offer a range of compliance solutions at The Strategic Partner, including:

  • Regulation 21 AML 2017 Independent Audit – A review of the firm’s approach to regulation and compliance to include AML procedures with the audit meeting the requirements of Regulation 21 of the AML 2017. The output provides the firm with a written gap analysis and solutions to remedy any issues and ensure compliance.
  • Training – Our Typical AML Training Includes
    • AML Training for ALL staff to meet the firm’s obligation to provide annual training.
    • 1-2-1 training for the MLRO and MLCO on their obligations and requirements.
  • Auditing – Procedural staff, systems, and files to ensure the procedures are up to the required standard and being implemented at case level with a report of the outcome.

Packaged Solutions – Implementation of robust solutions to ensure the firm achieves compliance and then maintains compliance through the provision of ongoing support and assistance:

Get in touch with The Strategic Partner

For more information on The Strategic Partner and to discuss how we may be able to assist in accelerating your risk management or compliance and regulation or simply to keep this up to date you can call us on 020 3911 9710 or email us at info@thestrategicpartner.co.uk.

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