Membership of the Institute will give COFAs independent advice, support and resources to help in their day-to-day role. COFAs play a vital role in the move to regulation focused on outcomes and they are key to fulfilling the SRA’s aim for law firms to take responsibility for managing any risks to their delivery of legal services.
COFAs champion compliance and the management of risk within law firms and are responsible for firms’ systems and controls. They are responsible for establishing processes to enable the firms, their managers and employees - and anyone who has any interest in the firms - to comply with requirements the Handbook places on them.
COFAs are not solely responsible for complying with the requirements of the Handbook: everyone in the firm has a role to play in compliance, which is ultimately the responsibility of the firm and its managers. However, COFAs do have a key role in ensuring that suitable systems and controls are in place, in recording breaches and in reporting material breaches to the SRA.
The designated COFA must:
Be an individual.
Be a manager or an employee of the authorised body or be an approved COFA in a related, authorised body.
Consent to his or her designation as the COFA.
Be of sufficient seniority and responsibility to fulfil the role.
Not be disqualified from being a head of finance and administration (HOFA), if appropriate.
Individuals must also be “fit and proper” to undertake the role of COFA.
This suitability is assessed by taking into account the criteria in the SRA Suitability Test 2011 and any other relevant information. The assessment as to whether you are fit and proper is undertaken upon initial approval and should also be considered by the firm throughout the currency of the approval. If you are no longer fit and proper, we may withdraw approval for your role.
How can we help you?
- COFA Corner Library
- Access to several ILFM Guides and Practice Notes
- Useful Documents Library
- Discounted Member and Earlybird rates for our training. Including our COFA Workshop.
- 6 Copies Print or Digital of our professional journal - including the popular COFA Corner column.
- Full access to ILFMAnswers knowledgebase
- Full access to our ILFM COFA Resources Page
- Access to our Professional Qualification courses