Thomas Guise prides itself on providing city quality legal services at local prices and has ensured that there are offices in towns where the majority of our clients live, such as Studley, Worcester, Malvern and Birmingham, to make it easier for them to attend meetings. However, more often the firm is being requested to provide legal services to clients who have moved away or are buying property in the local area but live overseas or in another part of the country. Thomas Guise has been successfully completing a substantial amount of property purchases by overseas clients since 2013.
With modern technology and pre-planning there is no reason why having a client in the next street to us or in another country is an issue and we have many satisfied and returning clients that live overseas.
One way that we manage the verification of our clients is to use Jordans Electronic ID checks, which is an online system that produces a result verifying the clients’ identity and also stating whether or not the client is subject to any sanctions or is a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), for UK clients it also verifies the address.
The Jordans system works with foreign clients and foreign passports. However it does not verify the address of a client based overseas. We therefore have to ask for proof of address in the usual way – i.e. original documents or certified copies. We can rely on copies certified by an overseas professional such as a lawyer or accountant and have a standard form of wording for the certificate.
Nancy Hai, Solicitor and Manager of Chinese Legal Services, says “Having Jordans saves us substantial amount of time in verifying ID for overseas client”.
The potential compliance issues with overseas clients are mainly as follows:-
Overseas companies. Jordans can check these based on a specific request. However, there are some countries where company information is not available to be searched in the same way as it is at Companies House in the UK. For example, tax havens such as the British Virgin Isles.
There is no requirement on us to meet long distance clients provided we have satisfactory proof of identity, address, and source of funds. The Jordans check should identify any PEPs or people subject to international sanctions. In such cases we should consider why the client has come to us. We have to obtain and supply bank account details in hard copy or fax because emails are not a secure medium.
Because email is not very secure we use WeChat to send our Chinese client’s account details when the client does not have the means to accept our client account details by fax.
Obviously it can be more difficult to take instructions and explain things by email, letter and telephone compared to a personal meeting. Most of our communications are through email so we don’t have any issues with Time Zones.
The firm has represented family law clients in countries such as Australia, Spain, France and America. One case that went to court with a client who lived in Australia was carried out successfully using Video Conferencing.
To find out more about our international legal services please call us on 01527 912912.
Studley (Head Office):
Second Floor, Marmion House
3 Copenhagen Street
Second floor, White House
111 New Street