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COLP and COFA Reporting Requirements to be Relaxed

20 September 2013

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is soon to publish Version 8 of the SRA Handbook. The new version, which is effective from 1 October 2013, will see changes to the existing obligation on COLPs and COFAs to report non-material breaches of either the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 or the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 on an annual basis.

In April 2013, the SRA published a consultation document, Red Tape Initiative: Phase 2, which addressed concerns which had been raised by many within the legal sector about the unduly onerous obligation on the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) to report non-material breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 annually to the SRA as part of the firm's annual information report.

Version 8 of the SRA Handbook, which will become effective from 1 October 2013, sees amendments to the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011 meaning that COLPs and COFAs will, in the main, no longer have to report non-material breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and the SRA Code of Conduct 2011. This change will be retrospective so that any non-material breaches that have arisen since the new regulatory regime was introduced by the SRA on 1 January 2013, will not now need to be reported back to the SRA as part of the firm's annual information report.

However, it should be noted that the relaxation of the reporting requirements does not extend to Alternative Business Structures (ABS). Sections 91 & 92 the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA) requires the Head of Legal Practice (HOLP) and the Head of Finance and Administration (HOFA) of a licensed body to report any failure to comply with the terms of its licence or the regulatory arrangements to the licensing authority, in this case the SRA, as soon as reasonably practicable.

Legal Finance Professionals Limited offers a dedicated support service for those appointed as a firm's Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA) or Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) under the SRA Authorisation Rules 2011.

For further information about our COLP/COFA Support Service call us now on 0845 6500 112 or contact us by e-mail.

If you would like us to keep you updated on the latest legal regulatory and compliance news, including the latest developments relating to the roles of COLP and COFA, sign up for our FREE newsletter.


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