Competition and Markets Authority call for Price Transparency

The Competition and Markets Authority has now published its report into the Legal Profession and whilst it has declined to commence a full investigation it has called for greater price transparency .

Recommendations include :

  • A requirement on providers to display information on price, service, redress and regulatory status to help potential customers. This would include publishing pricing information for particular services online (only 17% of firms do so at present).
  • Revamping and promoting the existing Legal Choices website to be a starting point for customers needing help, information and guidance on how to navigate the market and purchase services.
  • Facilitating the development of comparison sites and other intermediaries to allow customers to compare providers in one place by making data already collected by regulators available. At present only 22% of people compare the services on offer before appointing a lawyer.
  • Encouraging legal service providers to engage with feedback and review platforms to ensure that customers can benefit from the experience of others before making their choice.
  • Recommending that the Ministry of Justice looks at whether to extend protection from existing redress schemes to customers using ‘unauthorised’ providers.

 

Law Society President Robert Bourns aid :

“The CMA’s decision not to conduct a market investigation into the legal sector is welcomed.

“However it is astonishing that some of the CMA’s recommendations prioritise deregulation over consumer protection.

“If solicitors were to offer legal services from unregulated companies, as suggested by the CMA, then their clients would no longer enjoy a raft of protections – from confidentiality to compensation – offered by every solicitor in a solicitor firm. These deregulatory changes would undermine consumer protections and erode trust in the legal system.”

Access the report here : legal-services-market-study-final-report