The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The compliance officer for legal practice (COLP) sits at the heart of the firm's regulatory arrangements. This does not mean that the firm and its managers can abdicate responsibility for compliance simply by appointing one, nor can they sub-contract the role to an external consultant.
This Practice Note explains the COLP’s duties and qualifying requirements. It reflects the requirements in the SRA Handbook 2011. It has not been updated for the SRA Standards and Regulations 2019, in force from 25 November 2019. For more information on the revised requirements, see Practice Notes:
Compliance officers 2019—law firms, and
Compliance officers and breach reporting—SRA 2011 regime and SRA 2019 regime compared
The importance of the role is reflected in the Solicitors Regulation Authority's (SRA's) qualifying requirements. The COLP must:
be a qualified lawyer
have sufficient seniority within the practice
be approved by the SRA
The primary legislation and SRA Handbook differ on the title of the COLP role, but this does not affect its substance:
the Legal Services Act 2007 requires ABSs to appoint a Head of Legal Practice (HOLP), but there is no corresponding statutory requirement for solicitor practices
the SRA has changed the title from HOLP to COLP, and requires all firms to appoint a COLP (for more information see Practice Note: Compliance officer for legal practice (COLP)—authorisation and disqualification 2011 [Archived])
The COLP has three
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