Proof of ID

Why do I have to prove my identity?

Providing ID – protecting us, protecting you

Providing proof of ID is one of life’s irritating details. The need to dig out old bills, passports and the like can seem to slow everything down…and then there’s the niggling resentment that the party asking for proof doesn’t entirely trust the fact that you are you. Annoying, right? So, why not shop around for a service provider that doesn’t require all of this? And what do you do if you don’t have the required documents? Read on to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the need to prove your identity to legal firms…

Yes, all lawyers require ID from their clients, whichever firm you choose to instruct. Put simply, providing proof of ID is necessary to complete all sorts of transactions – and for very good reason.

Accessing legal services is no exception, regardless of the provider you choose. Our commitment is to protect you at all times – and that includes safeguarding against fraud, such as identity theft. In order to do this, we need to be satisfied that your credentials are genuine before we can act for you

ID checks are also necessary to comply with Anti-Money Laundering regulations. These regulations are designed to prevent money obtained by criminal activity from being filtered through recognised channels (such as a lawyer’s bank account) in order to legitimise and launder it.

If our lawyers fail to follow the required procedures regarding ID checks then the Solicitors Regulation Authority (our professional body) will view this as a serious breach of professional conduct. As a result, the lawyer concerned could be ‘struck off’, lose their job, and therefore be unable to help you.

The sooner that you are able to present your certified ID to your lawyer, the sooner they can begin to act on your behalf.

Where ID is required, this will likely be photographic (e.g. passport/driving licence) and to confirm your address (e.g. bank statement/utility bill).Your lawyer may need to use an online provider to verify your ID in the following circumstances:

  • you have recently changed your name
  • you do not currently have a fixed address
  • you are unable provide proof of your address dated within the last three months; or
  • you have been unable to meet your lawyer face-to-face

Any checks that we make will result in the individual that was checked having a ‘soft footprint’ on their credit file. This means that any business which subsequently ran a check on the individual’s credit file would be able to identify the company that did the search, in this case Legl, with information processed by Onfido. It will not, however, affect their credit rating.

For business clients, lawyers are required to identify beneficial owners and controllers. Limited companies must provide evidence of the identity and address for at least one director, as well as a list of the names and addresses of senior shareholders.

In the case of a partnership, a list of all partners is required, as well as evidence of identity and address for at least two of the partners. In addition, a copy of the current partnership deed or other document that confirms who owns the business must also be presented.

It is best to provide your ID to your lawyer as soon as you wish to instruct them to work on your behalf. This will help mitigate any delay in their being able to act. Your lawyer cannot undertake any work on your behalf until the identity checks are completed. Your lawyer will let you know when they need your ID.

Not at all. As long as you have the necessary ID we will be able to comply with our obligations.

Speak to your lawyer at the earliest opportunity and they will guide you through the next steps. If you are struggling to provide the necessary ID, for example you don’t have either a passport or a driving licence, there are other options open to you.

Yes. Any ID provided will be kept entirely confidential and in line with our GDPR obligations.

No. You can use our online ID service, called Legl. Your lawyer will explain how it works and what you need to do.