As part of our work to improve market transparency for consumers, we are particularly looking at improving transparency of quality. It is important that consumers have access to information on quality as well as price, so that they have the best tools to shop around and exercise effective choice.
In December 2020, the CMA’s review of its 2016 market study of legal services found a mixed picture on the evidence of improved consumer engagement since 2016. The CMA noted that more needed to be done, particularly on transparency of quality, and asked the LSB to take the lead in coordinating action in this area.
Open consultation – Empowering consumers: draft statement of policy
On 15 September 2021, we published a draft statement of policy on consumer empowerment. It proposes setting clear expectations of how the regulatory bodies we oversee should act to empower consumers to choose legal services providers best suited to their needs and to improve market transparency in the sector. We are consulting on this statement, and invite responses to our proposals.
Read the draft statement of policy (PDF) and accompanying consultation document (PDF).
Read the press release to the draft statement of policy here.
The consultation is open for 12 weeks until 8 December 2021. We welcome all responses and comments to this address, as well as any queries about our work here.
Discussion paper and research
We have published a discussion paper on how to improve transparency of quality in the legal services market. In this paper, we set out our provisional thinking in this area, offering evidence and analysis on what information about quality consumers would find helpful, how best to get this information to them, and potential policy interventions to support effective consumer choice.
This paper closed for submissions on 22 April 2021. On 22 July 2021 we published the submissions we received and our response, which you can read here.
Alongside this discussion paper, we have published new research with the LSB’s public panel. We commissioned this research to understand what consumers look for in terms of quality, the information they currently use to gauge quality, and how they would respond to potential initiatives to improve access to information on quality.
The discussion paper and research can be found here:
The responses we received to this paper will inform our draft statement of policy on consumer engagement, which will set expectations of the legal services regulators in relation to market transparency and public legal education initiatives. We plan to consult on this statement after summer 2021.
We are also working closely with the SRA, CLC and CILEx Regulation as they undertake a pilot scheme around quality indicators. We are encouraged by their work in this area and will take account of any emerging findings in our policy work.
We welcome feedback from stakeholders on this important area of work. If you would like to submit a response or have a query about our work here, please get in touch with the project team.