CILEx Regulation is consulting on bold new measures to make the legal services market more consumer friendly for individuals and small businesses. With seven days left of the consultation, the clock is ticking for your opportunity to get involved.
Consumers choosing goods or services can easily find information on price and quality, shop around for different packages and compare online reviews. For legal services, this kind of information is rarely available at the point individuals realise they have a legal need. Where do consumers look to help them understand and compare the services on offer, how much they will cost and which type of provider can help?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reported in 2016 on how the market in legal services is working. They looked at different areas of law, especially wills and probate, employment and commercial. They believe the market is not working as well as it could. Their report was published on 15 December 2016. This consultation forms a key plank of CILEx Regulation’s response.
In future, CILEx Regulation will expect the law firms it regulates to publish information on:
- price including the charging model, such as fixed fee, and any additional costs;
- service, including a description of the work included in the price, and how long it will take;
- consumer redress, including complaints procedures and the right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman; and
- how the firm is regulated, including professional indemnity cover and availability of CILEx Regulation’s compensation arrangements.
Initially, the regulator plans that firms doing conveyancing and/or wills will publish this information, usually on their website.
Sam Younger, Chair of CILEx Regulation, said:
“The interests of consumers are at the heart of our work. We recognise the CMA findings that the legal services market is not working as well as it could for consumers.
Delivering the CMA recommendations is a strategic aim for us. We will support our regulated firms in meeting requirements that they publish choice-making information, at the point consumers need it.
This consultation will be key to helping us understand the views of our firms, consumers and other stakeholders, as we develop our approach.”
The consultation closes at 5pm on 21 December 2017.