Accounts compliance failures—regulatory requirements, systems and controls 2011 [Archived]
Accounts compliance failures—regulatory requirements, systems and controls 2011 [Archived]

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accounts compliance failures—regulatory requirements, systems and controls 2011 [Archived]
  • Key terms
  • Duties
  • Internal compliance function
  • External reporting function
  • Recording function
  • Systems and controls
  • Reporting compliance failures
  • Recording compliance failures
  • Compliance failure policy
  • More...

The compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA) is responsible for recording and reporting failures to comply with the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 (SRA AR 2011). This obligation is imposed by the SRA and it is important that the COFA implements robust systems and procedures to ensure compliance.

Key terms

ABSalternative business structure regulated by the SRA—characterised by the involvement of non-lawyer owners and/or managers
COFAcompliance officer for finance and administration
COLPcompliance officer for legal practice
firmsolicitor practice or ABS
solicitor practicesole practice, partnership, LLP or company wholly owned and managed by lawyers
SRASolicitors Regulation Authority

Duties

The COFA has three core functions:

  1. internal implementation of compliance systems

  2. external reporting of failures to the SRA

  3. maintaining records of compliance failures

Internal compliance function

The COFA must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the legal practice, its managers and its employees comply with any obligations under SRA AR 2011. The COFA is not responsible for general regulatory compliance. This falls within the remit of the COLP.

The COFA and COLP of a legal firm can be the same person, so long as they meet the qualifying requirements for each role and are approved by the SRA.

The phrase 'all reasonable steps', taken in conjunction with the rules relating to COFA disqualification and withdrawal of approval, suggests that the SRA does not intend to confer strict liability on

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