On 13 January 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a market study into the provision of legal services in England and Wales. Overall, the CMA have found that the legal services sector is not working well for individual consumers and small businesses.

These consumers generally lack the experience and information they need to find their way around the legal services sector and to engage confidently with providers. Consumers find it hard to make informed choices because there is very little transparency about price, service and quality–for example, research conducted by the Legal Services Board (LSB) found that only 17% of legal services providers publish their prices online.

This lack of transparency weakens competition betweenproviders and means that some consumers do not obtain legal advice when they would benefit from it.  Increasing transparency of price, service and quality is therefore essential for  consumers to get a better deal. Our package of remedies is focused on helping consumers engage with the legal services sector by equipping them with tools to identify their legal needs, shop around and secure good value.

The first step is to require much higher standards of transparency by legal services providers. We are recommending that the regulators  develop new minimum standards for disclosures of price, service, redress and regulatory status, and require providers to adhere to them.

Source: Legal services market study: Final report – legal-services-market-study-final-report.pdf

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