ASA puts onus on law firms to stop using Law Society’s “misleading” CQS claim


Law Society: Some details not provided clearly to ASA

All of the 3,000 law firms accredited under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) need to ensure they are not using in their own marketing the society’s description of the scheme that was yesterday ruled to be misleading, it has emerged.

An internet search threw up multiple results of law firms using the society’s claim that, to gain accreditation, they have to go through “rigorous examination and testing to demonstrate that they have a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that this was an exaggeration, given the checks that a firm has to undergo to receive the Law Society’s approval.

An ASA spokesman confirmed to Legal Futures: “Our ruling applies to any business that is making the same or similar claims. We’d expect firms to bring their claims in line with our findings. However, should concerns arise, we’d judge a case on its merits.”

A Law Society spokesman said it had emailed all CQS members to inform them of the ruling and the need to change their marketing if they repeated the claim. 

He added that the society was also reviewing its marketing for other schemes – its family law accreditation scheme, for example, uses almost exactly the same wording, saying: “Members will have shown that they have and will maintain a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of family law.”

The ASA spokesman also explained why it had reversed the original decision to dismiss the complaint, saying: “Our decision changed because we were able to assess in further detail aspects of the accreditation process from the Law Society that had not been provided very clearly during our initial investigation.

“Taking that into account, ASA council was persuaded that it should overturn its original decision.”




    Readers Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Is the Law Society going to reimburse any costs incurred by CQS firms in correcting websites, marketing material, etc. as a consequence of its misleading statements?


Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reports

No larger firm can ignore the demands of innovation – that was the clear message from our most recent roundtable: “The law firm of the future”, sponsored by LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions. It comes in many forms, predominantly but not just technology, and is not simply a case of automating process. Expertise and process are not mutually exclusive.

Blog

20 November 2018

Failing to find documents can have a serious impact on your bottom line

Indexing and searching in content management systems have serious weaknesses that haven’t always received the attention they need from law firms – up to 30% of documents are invisible to search.

Read More