The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note explains the duties and qualifying requirements for a Compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA). The COFA is responsible for ensuring that systems and controls are in place to enable the practice, its managers and its employees to comply with their obligations under the SRA Accounts Rules (SRA ARs).
The primary legislation and SRA Handbook differ on the title of the COFA role, but this does not affect its substance:
the Legal Services Act 2007 requires ABSs to appoint a Head of Finance and Administration (HOFA), but there is no corresponding statutory requirement for solicitor practices
the SRA has changed the title from Head of Finance and Administration (HOFA) to Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA). For more information, see Practice Note: Compliance officer for finance and administration—COFA—authorisation and disqualification 2011 [Archived].
The COFA has three core functions:
internal implementation of compliance systems
external reporting of failures to the SRA
maintaining records of compliance failures
The SRA is not prescriptive about how the COFA should discharge their role, nor has it issued any practical guidance or sample job description.
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
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