From 1st January 2013 all firms must have an approved Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA).
At the time of writing, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) were expecting to begin approving the first tranche of several thousand COLPs and COFAs in mid-October. The majority of these will have been relatively straightforward nominations, where the SRA were able to verify suitability using automated checking of data they already held about the individuals.
More complex nominations
Where the nominations are more complex, for example because the nominated COLP or
COFA is not already known to the SRA, or nominees have “suitability issues”, the SRA
should have already been in touch with many practices.
Nominations under closer scrutiny
The SRA has also confirmed that they will be looking much more closely at nominations
from practices or individuals classed as higher risk. In addition, 150 practices will be selected
at random for closer scrutiny, to test the validity of the self-declaration process.
Hundreds of practices did not get their initial nominations in before the 31 July 2012
deadline, and I understand that by mid-September 600 practices had still not made a start on
The SRA is continuing to work to a 1 January 2013 launch date for the new roles. If
practices have not nominated their COLP and COFA by then, the SRA is promising to take
disciplinary action against them, and may even revoke their licences.
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