Plans by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to introduce a centralised test for solicitors wanting higher rights of audience have divided opinions among organisations and individual solicitors.
More use of fixed fees and an increase in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s fining powers are among recommendations made today by the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
The Law Society and Bar Council have strongly attacked plans by the Legal Ombudsman to extend its publication of information about complaints, arguing that it would not help consumers.
Reforms to the regulation of legal services proposed by an independent review would lead to a “massively uncertain and costly system”, the president of the Law Society has said.
The Bar Standards Board has decided to stop funding Legal Choices, the consumer-facing website which until now has been collectively run and paid for by all the legal regulators.
A third of consumers are now accessing legal services online while telephone-based services are declining, new research has found. However, the proportion shopping around is still relatively low.
The Legal Services Consumer Panel has criticised legal regulators’ continuing “resistance” to publishing complaints data about the lawyers they oversee.
Regulators need to monitor the development of legal technology and issue guidance to help maximise the opportunities it presents while delivering the necessary protection for consumers.
The chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel has strongly attacked the Solicitors Regulation Authority for changing its insurance requirements for freelance solicitors without giving a reason.
The government, legal regulators and others need to come together to ensure that the next generation of lawyers have the chance to study social welfare law or face even more ‘advice deserts’.
The position of the smaller legal regulators has been thrust into the spotlight, with the chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel suggesting that one may be at risk of losing its right to regulate.
Access to justice includes information about lawyers’ fees, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has told the Bar Standards Board. It also called for more focus on barristers’ communication skills.
The Legal Services Board has been told by its own consumer panel that it has to share the responsibility for ensuring that consumers do not suffer at the hands of solicitors working for unregulated firms.
The frontline regulators are making “very good progress” in improving price transparency, the Legal Services Board has said – but its consumer panel was far less impressed.
A member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel has questioned the findings from its own research that showed consumer satisfaction with conveyancing is high.
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