The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

Name of Legislation and link to Parliament

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA)

Reason why it should be put on the Bonfire

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 requires solicitors to make it a condition of engagement that clients provide identification to them. This is an interference in private contracts.

This act also requires solicitors to demand information on third parties providing funds for any transaction. This is an unnecessary burden on both the client and the firm of solicitors.

POCA also imposes on solicitors a broad statutory obligation to report the state anything that they know of or of which they have mere suspicion of 'criminal activities' This causes solicitors to act against the interests of their clients, and is a violation of free association. It also sets up solicitors as agents of the state, causing clients and solicitors to mistrust each other.

POCA also requires that if a law firm makes a notification to the state, that firm is forbidden from telling their client that this has happened, and they may not even say why they are breaking their contract. The firm will have to ask for the permission of the state to retain the client in question, and if consent is refused, the firm is forbidden from telling the client why they can no longer represent her.

POCA is an absolutely terrible piece of legislation, that destroys the sacred and essential client attorney relationship where confidentiality and trust are paramount. It causes lawyers to act not in the interests of their clients, but always in the interests of the state, which trumps all contracts, arrangements and relationships.

This is not the sort of legislation found in free countries.

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