Thursday 20 September 2012 by John Hyde

Practising certificate renewals for 2012 must be completed by 14 December, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has announced.

The organisation says it has completed a programme of improvements to its IT infrastructure supporting online renewals and the application forms. In particular, firms will this year be able to process bulk applications on behalf of colleagues and can confirm multiple records through a single click.

The SRA also says that its support will be improved through the contact centre and there are new facilities to view and edit individuals' records. Renewals have already been confirmed as starting from 1 November, giving six weeks for firms to complete the process.

The SRA will hope to avoid a repeat of the last year's renewals, when the deadline was moved back following a host of technical problems with the new online system.

Chief executive Antony Townsend, said: 'We are satisfied that the user experience will be significantly enhanced. We were not prepared to launch the renewals exercise or finally confirm dates until we were confident that the system was stable and the planned enhancements had been implemented.

'I am pleased to say that this threshold has been reached.' Contact will be made with all firms at the end of this month to help them prepare for processing applications, with updates also posted on the SRA website in the build-up to the renewal date.

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