The report, titled the “Role of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures,” lays out 8 key principles for lawyers to follow –
Principle 1: Non-facilitation of illegal conduct – When creating companies, trusts and partnerships, a lawyer should not facilitate illegal conduct, and should undertake the necessary due diligence to avoid doing so inadvertently.
Principle 2: Misuse of the duty of confidence and privilege – A lawyer should not use the confidential nature of the lawyer–client relationship or the principles of legal professional privilege to shield wrongdoers.
Principle 3: Client due diligence – The enquiries that a lawyer undertakes should be heightened if the risk profile of the client, the type of transaction, the origin of the funds, the parties involved and/or the jurisdiction fall within well-established international benchmarks for jurisdictions with increased risk of bribery, corruption and commercial crime.
Principle 4: Action where client conduct is, may be or becomes illegal – Where the conduct of a client is, may be or becomes illegal, even if it was originally legal and the lawyer continues to be retained by the client, a lawyer should advise the client of the consequences of the conduct and recommend that the client pursues alternative solutions.
Principle 5: Multi-jurisdictional risk – Where a transaction involves conduct by a client, agents or representatives of a client in more than one jurisdiction and the lawyer has reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct may be or may become illegal in a jurisdiction(s), a lawyer should verify that expert advice is or has been obtained by the client from a lawyer experienced in the conduct or transaction in that jurisdiction.
Principle 6: Use of illegally obtained information – Lawyers should strongly discourage a client from paying private parties or public officials to obtain illegal information, which of itself may constitute a criminal offence in many jurisdictions.
Principle 7: Disclosure of beneficial ownership – A lawyer should obtain and maintain up-to-date beneficial ownership information and take reasonable measures to verify its accuracy in relation to the lawyer’s client(s).
Principle 8: Advertising by lawyers on international commercial structures – Any advertising by lawyers should be transparent, accurate and truthful,