The Solicitors Regulation Authority is investigating 272 firms that did not submit a renewal form with fee by last October’s deadline.
The regulator today confirmed that its revocation team is investigating 12 licensed bodies, 175 firms and 83 recognised sole practitioners who did not submit by 31 October.
In total, 3,658 individuals’ practising certificates or registrations were revoked last month – a significant decrease on the 4,500 that were revoked in 2013/14.
All individuals who had their practising certificates revoked have been contacted to request an explanation as to why they did not renew and to clarify whether they have continued to provide reserved legal activities.
In papers for this Wednesday’s board meeting, which were released today, the SRA said supervisors will now review data and complete risk profiling of the firms and individuals that missed renewal.
They will be contacted by telephone and encouraged to renew. Those that do so will be issued with a letter of advice.
The SRA said formal investigations will start on any firms or individuals who still choose not to renew and continue to provide legal services.
This may result in revocation of PCs, a recommendation to fine or rebuke, or an intervention. The supervision process is likely to be complete by June.
The SRA said the renewal process had achieved its key objectives, with £111.7m collected as of 1 January against a target of £113.3m.
In total, 127,717 PCs, 2,660 recognised sole practitioner endorsements, 398 registered European and 1,973 foreign lawyer registrations have been approved.
The contact centre had a target to answer 70% of calls within two minutes and achieved 97%, the papers say.