Practising Certificate Renewal/Fee Collection – letter from Des Hudson, Chief Executive, The Law Society

  • 28/11/2011
Dear Colleague
Practising Certificate Renewal/Fee Collection, November 2011
I wrote to Presidents of Local Law Societies on 18 October advising as to the delays with the start
of the PC renewal and fee collection process for November 2011.
As you will recall, the SRA intended to confirm by notification to the profession a decision as to
next steps and timetables on Monday 21 November. The SRA has recently put out an update as
at 18 November advising as to the current position. You will be aware that the Society has funded
a two year project to overhaul of SRA computer systems and processes. That investment was
part of a wider Group IT strategy, which would have allowed all parts of the Law Society Group to
utilise the benefits of these new applications. For example, the Society later in 2012 will launch a
new website based upon a common technical platform which is currently supporting the websites
serving the SRA. There are significant advantages if we can successfully introduce an online PC
renewal and fee collection system.
As the SRA has made clear, the project for that introduction of an online facility is delayed. We
believe it was right for the decision to be taken last week to further delay for a brief period the start
of renewal and fee collection this year. The start of a pilot roll out of the first phases of the online
renewal system started 72 hours ago. We have an intensive period of testing and trialling
involving a number of volunteer firms scheduled over the next ten working days or so which it is
hoped will allow the introduction of the new online renewal system.
In the meantime, the SRA has confirmed that all existing practising certificates have been
renewed. Alternative arrangements are in place allowing individuals making an application to the
roll for the first time to process such applications.
Clearly, any delay to the annual renewal process is naturally a concern to many practitioners. The
Society has this week written to the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies
Association explaining the current position in an effort to seek their assistance in better informing
their individual lender members that all current practising certificates have been extended. We are
aware that a number of practitioners have been challenged by some lenders on the basis that
existing practising certificates have “expired”. 
We further understand that the SRA has already been in contact with other relevant bodies that
may, for their own regulatory processes, rely upon the production or availability of a current
practising certificate.
Any solicitors facing any difficulties or who need any assistance from the Society should not
hesitate to contact us, and in the first instance our Practice Advice Service (0870 606 2522, email
[email protected]) will offer assistance.
This is clearly a regrettable and unfortunate delay. The Society is conscious of the need for an
early and swift resolution. The Society will be doing all it can to assist any members affected in
this way and is providing all support and assistance available to colleagues in the SRA to assist in
the early resolution of this matter.
Yours sincerely
Desmond Hudson
Chief Executive
Direct Line: 020 7320 5601
Direct Fax: 020 7320 5759
[email protected]