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Why a solicitor should request a client's ID

Oct 14, 2014

There is a term “Fiduciary” this word’s meaning to “Trust”

What does this mean when it relates to a client and a solicitor? It signifies the relationship to be as follows: The client will have faith in the solicitor, placing his confidence in the solicitor to do what is right for him. This then places a multitude of legal responsibilities upon the solicitor in matters concerning the client. The solicitor therefore agrees to take all actions that will benefit his/her client.

A great solicitor has the following attributes:

They will always have the client’s best interests at heart, acting honestly as well as fairly.

They will conduct business in a reasonable timeframe with the necessary expertise and meticulousness.

  • They will stay away from any causes of conflict as well as respect the client’s confidence.
  • Follow their client’s instructions in accordance to the law.

With the introduction of new laws, clients will be required to provide solicitor’s with proof of identification when conducting transactions. Due to reported acts of scams there was a need for changes in the identity confirmation policies. Clients should not feel threatened by this as the same confidentiality policies remain in good standing thus meaning that all conversations, correspondence in addition to documentation between the client and solicitor remains confidential. It is required that solicitors strictly maintain a client’s files according to the rules.

Firms that have not yet brought in a policy that requires a client to produce identity are urged to do so and such a policy ought to cover the following:

  • When will it be required for a solicitor to obtain client identification?
  • Every new client is duty-bound to produce verification of identity to a solicitor although consideration can be taken for clients that have been with the company for a couple of years. If an existing client has not had any contact with the company for a time period it might also be required of such a client to produce verification before a file is opened.

What is needed for verification of clients by the company?

Here is a range of options for verification to consider which also includes the hundred point check which is used by banks. A formal meeting of client and solicitor could be arraigned where the client can produce his/her Australian passport or their driver’s license for verification purposes.

If a client cannot commit to a face to face meeting due to distance a solicitor can require the client to meet with an identity confirming agency or an alternative law firm that is closer to the client.

How to store a client’s identity verification and documents?

Clients ought to be informed of the storage process even though solicitors only keep a copy of the client’s identification documents and this should all be laid out in the policy.

Clients should co-operate when asked for identity verification, as it is for your own protection as much as the protection of the solicitor concerned. Your document copies will be held safely as all other documentation.

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