Compliance Support Program
The Compliance Support Program (CSP) is a program initiated by the Attorneys Fidelity Fund (the Fund), and it came into effect in January 2015. This is a compulsory program targeting newly established legal firms, whereby the Fund conducts inspections, and supports practitioners in establishing a compliant operational environment before entering the mainstream external audit processes. The Fund provides these services in terms of the appointment by the Law Societies.
The program, currently rolled out in the Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free State Law Societies, allows new entrants to be part of the program for a period of two years, and to exit and enter the mainstream external audit processes after two years.
The Fund offers this program at no cost to the practitioner, except for the following, whereby the costs will be recovered from the practitioner:
- Significant compliance breach and/or continuous non compliance
- Theft by the practitioner or staff member
- Unprofessional conduct by the practitioner
Members should take note of the following about the program:
- It is compulsory for newly established legal firms. The basis of the program is a routine inspection process, with support as a fundamental requirement, ensuring a compliance environment before exiting into the mainstream external audit process
- The maximum participation period in the program is 24 months (two years), whereafter the practitioner needs to move into the mainstream external audit process and comply with rule 35.19 of the uniform rules
- Any longer participation is at the discretion of the Fund, depending on the firm’s risk assessment and compliance environment, in consultation with the practitioner and the Law Society
- Inspection reports and self-certification is submitted to the Council for consideration in respect of any required disciplinary processes
- Earlier exits from the program into the requirements of rule 35.19 could be supported on motivation by the practitioner and the risk status of the firm.