Client identification and verification rules

Go to Client ID & Verification – Frequently asked questions

Anti-Money Laundering Measures webinar (free of charge)

The Law Society of BC is offering a free two-hour program provided by Practice Advisor Barbara Buchanan, QC and Audit Team Leader Tina Kaminski to help lawyers comply with the Law Society’s anti-money laundering rules. The program includes information on money laundering, cash, client identification and verification, red flags and risk management. The program is eligible for two hours of CPD credit (practice management; professional responsibility and ethics).

View the program on YouTube


A lawyer is obligated to know his or her client, to understand the client’s financial dealings in relation to the retainer, and to manage any risks arising from the professional business relationship with the client. Law Society Rules, Part 3, Division 11, Rules 3-98 to 3-110 require lawyers to follow client identification and verification procedures when retained by a client to provide legal services. There are six main requirements:

  1. Identify the client (Rule 3-100).
  2. Verify the client’s ID if there is a “financial transaction” (Rules 3-102 to 3-106).
  3. Obtain from the client and record, with the applicable date, information about the source of money if there is a “financial transaction” (Rules 3-102(1)(a), 3-103(4)(b)(ii), and 3-110(1)(a)(ii)) effective January 1, 2020).
  4. Maintain and retain records (Rule 3-107).
  5. Withdraw if you know or ought to know that you would be assisting in fraud or other illegal conduct (Rule 3-109).
  6. Monitor the lawyer/client professional business relationship periodically while retained in respect of a “financial transaction” and keep a dated record of the measures taken and information obtained (new Rule 3-110 effective January 1, 2020).

If you have questions regarding the rules, you are welcome to contact a practice advisor (practiceadvice@lsbc.org or 604.443.5797).

Guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic

For this extraordinary period of serious public health concerns with in-person meetings, the Law Society has provided guidance about using a virtual means to verify the identity of an individual located in Canada under unique circumstances. This virtual means is limited to situations where lawyers are unable to avail themselves of any of the verification methods provided for in the existing rules.

For detailed information, lawyers are encouraged to read Knowing your client - Guidance and rules during COVID-19 in the Summer 2020 Benchers' Bulletin (pp. 18 -21).


Frequently asked questions

Resources

Forming companies and other structures – managing the risk, Spring 2021 Benchers' Bulletin (p.8)

Random calls and emails inquiring about shelf companies, Fraud alert, March 4, 2021

Client Identification and Verification Checklist, current to September 1, 2020; includes Sample Agreement with Agent for Verification

Client identification and verification – addressing your questions, Fall-Winter 2020 Benchers' Bulletin (p.12)

BC Land Title & Survey Authority – new online identity verification service, Notice to the Profession, December 1, 2020

Knowing your client - Guidance and rules during COVID-19, Summer 2020 Benchers' Bulletin (pp. 18 -21) – includes the March 17, 2020 Notice to the Profession (client verification in the context of COVID-19)

Know your client – addressing questions and risks, Spring 2020 Benchers’ Bulletin (p.8)

New client verification and source of money requirements, Winter 2019 Benchers’ Bulletin (p.13)

CLE-TV: Anti-Money Laundering – Client Identification and Verification Rules
One-hour webinar initially provided on November 27, 2019 by Practice Advisor Barbara Buchanan, QC (eligible for one hour of CPD credit)

Rule amendments enhance Law Society’s anti-money laundering measures, Fall 2019 Benchers’ Bulletin (p.14)

Anti-money laundering cash transaction rule essentials, Summer 2019 Benchers’ Bulletin (p.10)

Anti-Money Laundering initiative

Discipline advisories:

Federation of Law Societies of Canada: