Why Do I Have To Provide An ID To Law Firms?
Are you confused about providing an ID to law firms? One would assume that the laws created to protect the common people of Canada would be easy to understand. Ideally there would be little to no legal jargon that would get in our way of getting a better understanding of how the law works. And yet, law is very complicated and not “user friendly.” Most people are unaware of their basic legal rights. They have no idea of when the law changes in our legal system. What most people think they know about law comes from what they see in movies.
Therefore people call a marriage agreement a prenup in Canada. They heard the term in the movies. They also hear things from their friends, like “as soon as you live together for three years you are common law.” Law is never that simple.
An excellent example would be the changes in our country’s client verification and identification system. Basically, client verification and identification rules continue to become far stricter than they were before.
It’s A Law Society Rule
Essentially, the Law Society rules have been updated to give clients more options to confirm their identity. There are more stringent requirements in order to get your identity verified. Law firms also sometimes must obtain additional information regarding your source of funds that you are paying, receiving or transferring. According to anti money laundering rules, you might be legally required to share this information with your bank.
In a typical legal procedure, your lawyer needs to identify you. The lawyer must lay down the entirety of the work to be completed by them (or their firm). And they must make clear the terms of payment and how much they will charge you. Certain provinces require lawyers to collect information that’s more popularly known as “know your client.” This should be explained in the letter of engagement that you sign with your lawyer. Do understand that you will have to share sensitive information with your lawyer or your law firm. This article will cover everything briefly for your convenience.
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When am I needed to provide my ID to law firms?
Do you have to make any transaction involving large amounts of funds? Are you completing an activity relating to finances (mortgages, transfer of land etc.?) Then you must provide your ID to prove you are who you say you are.
Basically, an ID verification proves to the government that you’re a legitimate person/business who is performing a perfectly legal activity. Such checking of people’s identification help deters illegitimate money transactions from occurring. Without ID checks, it would likely encourage criminals, and even terrorists, to indulge in illegal activities and use law firms to help them.
ID To Law Firms- What information must is required from me?
- Your full name
- Permanent address
- Your home address
- Telephone or mobile number
Ideal documents that you need to carry with yourself in order to ID yourself can be your driving license, a provincial or territorial health insurance card, or your passport. For proof of address, you may require a utility bill (not more than 3 months old). Most of the time law firm’s just ask for a drivers licence. Sometimes a lawyer might ask for your SIN card.
What do I do if I do not have an occupation?
Your lawyer will often ask what you do. When you insist on not disclosing your occupation, know that your lawyers will likely refuse to work with you. If you have professional obligations that prevent you from disclosing the nature of your work, tell your lawyer.
If, however, you are unemployed, you volunteer, are a homemaker, are in-between jobs or not actively looking for work, do not hesitate to share this information for your lawyer. People often confuse “occupation” with “employment”, but this is not the case.
What happens if I am unable to fulfill the criteria needed to identify or verify my ID?
Being unable to fulfill a certain criterion is viewed differently from being unwilling to provide information pertaining to the criteria. If you are someone who does not have a permanent home, your lawyer is under no obligation to withdraw their legal services. If certain information about you does not exist, then just explain it to your lawyer. But you will need to provide ID to your lawyer, or most lawyers will not work with you.
ID To Law Firms- Is all this information privileged?
Yes. Your lawyer is bound by Canadian laws of client-lawyer privilege. However, you should be aware that your lawyer will be required by law to keep a record of your documents. Please note that our law firm keeps that record on the cloud.
Do I have to be physically present for the verification to take place?
No, our law firm works with clients online. Our lawyers just need to be confident that you are who you say you are. We use video conferencing to check as needed.
Is there a difference between verification and identification?
As a matter of fact, there is.
Identification is the basic information that you provide to your lawyer about yourself, such as your name and address.
Verification ensures your lawyer confirms that you are who your ID states you are.
But I have already shared my information with another lawyer before.
In that case, you can submit the same documents and information (that you did to your previous lawyer), to your existing lawyer. But they will likely check your ID again.
What do I do if I still have doubts regarding this process?
If you have any confusion or questions regarding the kind of documents you can submit, reach out to our law firm. If you want to know an estimate of how long the entire legal process will take or your lawyer’s fees, you can reach out to us via the live chat function. You can also call us on our toll-free number 1-844-466-6529. We will help you in every way that we can.