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31 December 2008

New Client Identification & Verification Rule

Client Identification and Verification Effective January 1, 2009, lawyers in BC and across the country will be required to comply with new rules requiring lawyers to “know their client.” The rules are part of the profession’s commitment against money laundering and terrorist financing. The new rules have been implemented across the country requiring lawyers, whenever a new matter is opened, to collect specific client information, and when a lawyer’s trust account is utilized, to verify and confirm client identity. What are the Rules? If we are retained on a new matter, we will need to obtain certain information about you, your organization, or the party on whose behalf you may be acting. This new rule will apply to you even if we have an existing, longstanding relationship with you. CLIENT IDENTIFICATION The information we will be requesting is as follows: For individual clients, we will need your   full name;   home address and telephone number;   if applicable, business address and telephone number; and   occupation. For corporate clients or organizations (non individual client), we will need the   full name of the organization;   business address, business telephone number of the organization;   organization’s incorporation number or business identification number and its place of issue;   name of contact person providing instructions; and   a description of the organization’s business activity. If we are acting on behalf of a third party we will need similar information in respect of that third party. TRUST ACCOUNTS AND VERIFICATION If we are involved in receiving, paying, or transferring funds on behalf of a client, we will be required to verify your identity through independent documents, data or information and, if you are an organization, we may require information regarding your directors and shareholders / owners. Please note, there are a number of exemptions to this requirement, including   funds paid to or received from a financial institution, public authority or reporting issuer acting as a principal;   funds paid or received pursuant to the order of a court or other tribunal;   funds sent or received to pay fees, disbursements, settlements or penalties; and   in certain circumstances if all funds involved are being transferred by electronic transmission, and the sending and receiving account holders do not handle or transfer the funds. If you have any questions about the new identification and verification rules please contact any Farris lawyer. Download the PDF file here.

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