It is 2:27am. I have just been advised via the Solicitors Regulation Authority website that my application for authorisation as a sole practitioner has been successfully submitted.
I embarked on this exercise 90 minutes ago. I had made several attempts during the day to lodge the application, but had been driven to the edge of insanity by having to wait for several minutes for each page to load.
In an attempt to minimise the waste of time, I made the error of doing some useful work while the wheel of fate slowly revolved, only to discover on my return that my session had been timed out and I had to log in all over again.
I phoned the SRA, who informed me they were aware of the issue and it was because too many pesky solicitors were trying to log in at the same time (I paraphrase). I was told to wait until the evening and try again. I did so at 8pm – with the same result. Hence my visit in the middle of the night, when I assumed only a few desperate practitioners would still be lingering.
Most of the time taken was waiting for the next page to load, though my already fraught nerves were stretched to breaking point when I reached the request for a percentage breakdown of types of work. Having spent an inordinate time calculating this for my PII proposal form I was not exactly pleased to see that the categories were defined quite differently.
Why on earth the SRA could not just have asked us to upload a copy of the relevant page from our proposal form is beyond me. Too much like common sense I suppose.
The only quick stage of the exercise was when I came to pay; then the pages suddenly loaded with lightning speed.
It really is absurd that we have to endure this misery every October. Either the SRA should spend money on technology that actually works, or it should stagger the applications throughout the year rather than cramming them all in to a few days.
Alternatively, please can we go back to filling in a paper form, which would have taken about a tenth of the time, including a pleasant stroll to the Post Office to post it.
Michael A Loveridge, Clitheroe