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It has been in the mainstream news recently, with a family accused of modern slavery offences failing to turn up for a trial at Nottingham. Commentators allege that few people understand the extent that slavery is widespread in the UK, particularly in the food, clothing, social care, fishing, hotels, leisure, and construction sectors, and also that people are unaware of how to spot it.
Modern slavery encompasses slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. The offences as set out in section 1 and section 2 of the Act make a person liable if they ought to know another person is held in slavery, servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Under section 54 of the Act relevant large commercial organisations are required to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for financial years ending on or after 31 March 2016, in which they disclose the steps they have taken to ensure their business and supply chains are free from modern slavery. Relevant commercial organisations include bodies corporate and partnerships, which carry on part of their business in the UK, although they must supply goods or services with a turnover of a minimum of £36 million annually. This is therefore likely to affect only the larger regional and City legal practices, unless they form part of a group, as turnover includes that of subsidiary undertakings (although subsidiaries with a turnover over the threshold are required to prepare their own statement).
Most practices will not be required to comply with the Modern Slavery Act, but contact your LBS consultant if you require advice on this or on the contents of your statement, in the unlikely event you are required to comply.
Client Relationship Manager
T: 0845 056 3949
M: 0743 727 4046
The Law Society has issued a practice note about the risks to solicitors posed by this new legislation, which came into force on 30 September.
The SRA has urged all practices to check HM Treasury’s consolidated list of asset freeze targets, which lists designated persons subject to financial sanction under EU or UK legislation.
The practising certificate renewal period opened on Monday 2 October.
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