The Legal Services Consumer Panel has strongly criticised the government’s plan to deny defendants the right to choose their own solicitor under price competitive tendering, with new data showing that legally aided clients are more likely to shop around than any other.
Five legal price comparison websites have signed up to good practice standards issued by two regulators and the Legal Services Consumer Panel – although they are to remain voluntary, with no external validation.
Struck-off solicitors are acting as McKenzie Friends, raising ethical concerns and providing a service that gives no recourse to the Legal Ombudsman, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned as it highlighted issues around the unbundling of legal services that it is set to investigate.
There is “a compelling moral and economic case” for the Legal Services Board to pursue initiatives such as an NHS Direct-style telephone service to help people find the legal advice they need, its consumer adviser has urged.
The Legal Services Board yesterday put the seal of approval on the SRA’s plans to regulate the referral fee ban. The news came as the Law Society pressed the LSB to provide reassurance that the way referral fees are regulated will be consistent across the entire legal profession.
A culture of defensiveness among lawyers risks the sort of regulatory failure that occurred in the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital Trust patient neglect scandal – and legal regulators must take heed, the head of the Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned.
Consumers, solicitors and will-writers have united to condemn the Legal Services Board’s decision not to recommend to the government that estate administration become a regulated activity. However, chartered accountants have welcomed it.
Consumers believe regulators ensure they have protections when buying legal services – although they don’t really know what they are – and are content to pay extra for them, a survey of users’ perceptions has found. But they also expect lawyers to provide better information about their rights.
Legal regulators have failed to open up their professional registers containing disciplinary information to price comparison websites, despite having been instructed to do so by the Legal Services Board, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has complained.
The Legal Services Board and Legal Services Consumer Panel have thrown their weight behind Friday’s Office of Fair Trading report that urged continuing simplification of the regulatory regime for lawyers, particularly around complaints.