Privilege, Ethics, and Client Due Diligence — Recommendations for Lawyers since the Panama Papers

Author(s): Paper & PowerPoint Handout


Materials comprised of a Paper and a PowerPoint handout.


Robert Wyld, Consultant, Johnson Winter & Slattery (Sydney)
Gary Hughes, Barrister, Akarana Chambers (Auckland)


The publication of the Panama Papers, and later the Paradise Papers, shone a spotlight on the scandalous circumstances in which clients may misuse the services of lawyers, accountants and other professionals. Those disclosures specifically came to bear on offshore commercial structures and trusts, and the role of lawyers in the establishment and conduct of those structures. While there are many legitimate purposes, those structures may also facilitate potentially illegal conduct. 

Closer to home, this led directly to AML/CFT coverage for lawyers and professionals being accelerated in New Zealand, after the John Shewan report. With Mossack Fonseca, other firms, and the legal profession in the media sights like never before, the International Bar Association and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development set up a joint Taskforce to look at the role and responsibilities of lawyers in this area. 

The joint IBA and OECD Report was published in May 2019. Australian lawyer Robert Wyld, the principal author of the Report, presents the findings, and fellow member of the IBA anti-corruption division Gary Hughes will link to issues arising for New Zealand lawyers.

These materials will help you

  • Learn more about the context of the Panama Papers and later disclosures.
  • Gain a better understanding of lawyers’ ethical duties, legal privilege and confidentiality.
  • Learn more about anti-bribery/corruption measures, and unwitting association with financial crime.
  • Consider how this Report impacts AML/CFT, as well as client due-diligence and ultimate beneficial ownership.

Intended audience

All lawyers who may have to grapple with privilege, confidentiality and ethical dilemmas. Law firms who are AML/CFT reporting entities. Lawyers engaged in company, trust establishment, or facing beneficial ownership issues. Litigators who appear in the courts.

Publication dateNovember 2019
FormatPDF and/or hard copy
CPD Seminar Papers ISBN: C0597/P
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