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If you own a business or work in a sophisticated field, being seen as a trustworthy and reliable source of goods and services is paramount to your success. Out of the many charges that may be brought against you, money laundering is one of the few that can deeply tarnish your career or business reputation. Although these charges can be nerve-wracking given how they could impede your financial situation, we can help. In this article, we will provide advice on finding an expert money laundering lawyer in the UK so you can find peace of mind and focus on your future.
The charge of money laundering is governed under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, specifically Part 7 in Sections 327, 238, and 329. In short, if you are charged with possessing, concealing, converting, transferring, or making arrangements regarding proceeds (funds, assets, property, etc.) of criminal activity, you are charged with money laundering.
Additionally, there are two categories of laundering offences:
Offences that fall under the first category are considered “predicate offences” and are often more serious than the latter kind. More on that is below.
Because money laundering activities can be quite complex, some examples can help clear up any confusion as to what exactly constitutes this crime:
In terms of sentencing, the time you may serve will be contingent on the severity of the crime, as indicated by the level of culpability you had in the act and the harm caused by your actions. These two factors are mainly determined by: the individual’s role in the crime, and the value of proceeds laundered. On average, the sentencing range is anywhere from a Band B fine to 13 years’ imprisonment.
As previously noted, money laundering charges can negatively impact a business’s value and in turn, your ability to provide for yourself and your family. If you are looking for a lawyer in the UK who can help with money laundering charges, here are some dispositions and qualities you should actively seek:
Deep experience with similar matters
Considering the highly complex legislation that governs this crime, and the many factors that influence sentencing times, finding a lawyer that is experienced specifically in money laundering is essential. Hiring a lawyer that has a minimum of five years in this industry may increase your chances of having a reduced sentence, or getting the charges dismissed altogether. Specialised lawyers will know what factors could reduce perceptions of your culpability in the crime, for example. Moreover, lawyers that understand this highly complex and specialist legislation more readily could spend less time on your case, without sacrificing quality. Although it may seem small, these slight differences could mean lower fees in the long run.
Intuitions or “hunches” can cause a lawyer to research certain facts of a case. While related to the amount of experience one has in a given field, intuitions can be a boon in money laundering cases. One of the key components of determining guilt is proving the charged individual had knowledge that the property of funds laundered was in fact from criminal activity. If this can’t be shown, their role quickly changes from launderer to victim. Retaining a lawyer that can pick up on intricacies such as these simply from conversations with you is a profound benefit to your case.
Albeit an obvious trait among lawyers, professionalism is essential in money laundering cases. Since your business and livelihood may also be at stake in these matters, having a lawyer that exudes confidence and professionalism may mitigate some of the negative press regarding your charges.
Finding a lawyer who is not only a specialist but who also embodies the characteristics discussed above is not a simple task. To make your search easier, here are some of the most effective ways to find the best money laundering lawyer in your area:
Word of mouth
If you’re a business owner, you likely have connections with other entrepreneurs. The UK having very strict anti-money laundering regulations means that your connections may have run into similar problems with the law, albeit without meaning to. Having conversations with the business owners and individuals that were in a similar position will inevitably lead to the names of their barrister or solicitor coming up in discussion. Not only do you get a quick referral, but you also get the added benefit of a first-hand, personal review.
Review industry rankings
One particularly insightful way to find a specialised lawyer in the UK is by reviewing legal directories. These databases help you find a legal expert in your area that will meet the qualifications you set. These may be specialisation, rating, location in the UK, and more. Some of the best directories for finding a money laundering lawyer in the UK include Chambers, Legal 500, and Law Firms. Many of these directories include comparative guides that are written by leading firms in their area of specialisation. These serve to educate the public and other lawyers on leading topics and legislation in a specific area. Note that not all sections of these guides are UK-specific, so some care is required to ensure you are reading up on the correct jurisdiction.
Check the UK Law Society website/directory
Similar to browsing legal directories, one of the best ways to find a money laundering expert is by searching the UK Law Society’s website. The Law Society also allows you to search for lawyers based on specific criteria. More importantly, it recognises quality law firms/practitioners excelling in their field of practice with a specific badge. This, too, helps to narrow your search. The website also provides a simple, accessible guide on getting advice from a solicitor on common legal issues, which will help prepare you for any upcoming meetings.
A simple internet search
Last but not least, a quick internet search is an effective way to find an industry-specific lawyer as well. Using robust terms will increase your chances of crawling web pages highly relevant to your case. Here are some example long-tail keywords you could use when searching:
It’s important to know that every lawyer’s fees will be dependent upon their own experience, qualifications, how they view your case’s complexity, and other factors. That said, here are some of the common fee schedules you may see for money laundering lawyers in the UK:
Hourly rate arrangements
Criminal lawyers in the UK usually charge between £120-400+ per hour. Keep in mind that if a lawyer you are interested in is located in the London area, they will likely charge higher fees than those located in different parts of the country.
Fixed fee schedules
These payment schedules involve paying a set amount for services rendered, either before, after, or during the progression of your case. The lawyer or firm you retain will base these fees on the complexity of your case and its expected duration. Bear in mind that these fees are not set in stone, and will likely not include additional charges like VAT fees and disbursements.
Retainer agreements see you paying a set amount every month with the lawyer deducting their hourly rate according to how much time is spent on your case. Although it may seem daunting to pay your legal fees before the work is done, these retainers usually mean you get a bit of a discount for paying in advance.
If your business or your reputation has been damaged by money laundering charges, the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors can help. With decades of combined experience in money laundering cases, our non-judgmental money laundering defence solicitors can navigate your matter quickly and get you back on your feet. For more information, get in touch for a no-obligation consultation.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.
We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.