Advocates in the Isle of Man are very much aware they operate in a global context and the Isle of Man Law Society endeavours to maintain links with other jurisdictions to stay abreast of professional developments.
The president of the Isle of Man Law Society, Kevin O’Riordan, attends the opening of the legal year in London and this year has also been invited to attend the equivalent event in Edinburgh. As the society’s chief executive officer, Jane O’Rourke attends the Law Society of Scotland’s annual conferences and has recently joined the European Group of Law Society CEOs. In September she will be attending her first conference in Belfast.
‘It’s always interesting and informative to meet ones counterparts in other jurisdictions,’ she said. ‘While the scale of issues may be the different in a compact jurisdiction such as the Isle of Man, the professional and regulatory issues remain the same. We can learn much from each other and share best practice.’
It was against this background that she and the society’s compliance manager Emma Christie visited the Jersey Law Society in July, one of the drivers for which was the impending change in the AML (anti-money laundering) supervisory régime in the Isle of Man for various non-financial professions, including advocates. In Jersey this responsibility has rested with the Jersey Financial Supervision Commission for some time, while in the Island legislation is in train to endow the FSC with similar responsibility.
The Isle of Man Law Society’s executive team were keen to understand how the process worked in Jersey, so were pleased to meet with the Jersey FSC, the Jersey Law Society and members of the Jersey legal profession.
Following the visit Emma Christie remarked: ‘It’s clear that both jurisdictions have taken decisive steps to ensure an effective régime is in place to prevent the islands being used to channel illicit funds, so it was interesting to compare the practical processes of supervision. I think we were each able to learn something to assist us in the future, not only regarding AML supervision but also regulation generally.’
Also operating with a small executive team, the Jersey Law Society undertakes less in the way of education and professional indemnity insurance roles but has a more direct responsibility for disciplinary matters. Like the Isle of Man Law Society it is considering ways in which to modernise its regulatory approach and prioritise use of finite resources.
Jane O’Rourke said: ‘It’s always useful to have someone else in a similar position with whom one can discuss change. It holds a mirror up to our own practices and helps us reflect upon where we might improve. In areas such as AML it’s vital that jurisdictions support each others’ regulatory strategies without strangling commercial imperatives. We believe that our counterparts in Jersey found our exchanges as useful as we did and it’s anticipated that the two societies will continue to develop their dialogue.’
Category: Finance & Business