Assessing High Risk Cases

Last month our monthly tip focussed on the file opening form / checklist and the recording of specific details on the file. These included Undertakings, Risk Assessments, AML Procedures and Key dates.

This month we will follow up on the theme of Risk Assessments and what to do if a case is classified as anything other than low or standard risk. There are 2 ways in which you can classify risk – either standard or high or the other way is low, medium or high.

If you decide to proceed with the low, medium and high grading system you may have a process that is activated if a case is graded as medium risk and another process when a case is graded as high risk. You could for example require the Head of Department to be notified when a case is classified as medium risk but the COLP would be notified if the case was classified as high risk.

Either way if a case is classified as high risk it should be reported to the COLP who would then review the details and decide if the firm will accept the case, and if so will a senior lawyer or Partner / Director / Member deal with the case. If this is the case the COLP would note the case on the High Risk Register so that he/she can monitor the progression of the case and review the risk.

If the COLP decides that the risk is not acceptable for the firm the policy for declining cases would be followed (this should be confirmed in your Office Manual) and the case would be noted on the Declined Register.

The Declined Register would also be used in situations for example where a Conflict of Interest has arisen and the firm has not been able to act.

If you would like to discuss this with us or if you would like us to send you a copy of a risk assessment policy please contact Legal Eye at [email protected] / 07921 774548

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