Update on Remote Legal Services Obligations

July 18, 2023

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Society provided guidance for lawyers to support them in the delivery of legal services. One of the ways the Law Society assisted lawyers was to temporarily not require lawyers to verify a client’s identity in the client’s physical presence for the government-issued photo identification method. Alternative means, such as video conference, were permitted temporarily.

With the relaxation of public health measures and general return to in-person legal services, the Law Society believes it is prudent to return to regular risk management measures. Therefore, the temporary exception to the client verification requirement, in Rule 119.50, no longer applies. When a lawyer engages in or gives instructions on behalf of an organization involving the receiving, paying or transferring of funds, it is mandatory to conduct client verification using one of the three methods available. However, for the government-issued photo identification method, the lawyer or agent may virtually verify a client’s identity using only the technology products for client identification and verification that have been approved by the Law Society’s Innovation Sandbox.

See the Client Identification and Verification Flowchart and FAQ for more information on obligations applicable to remote legal services.