LSB issues second assessment of regulators’ transparency action plans


The Legal Service Board publishes today its progress report on the commitments given by regulators to increase transparency of the prices of legal services in response to the final report of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) legal services market study.

Our main conclusion is that we consider that the regulators collectively have made substantial progress in delivering against the action plans they outlined last year.

Legal Services Board Chief Executive, Neil Buckley said:

I am pleased to report that there has been very good progress made by the legal service regulators. The larger regulators are on track to introduce new transparency requirements for providers in the next few months.

There have been positive developments on all the issues that we asked the regulators to address a year ago. Some have or are introducing mandatory requirements with regard to transparency. Regulatory arrangements relating to transparency on how consumers can obtain redress if things go wrong are being strengthened. Collectively, the regulators have also developed a stronger understanding of existing levels of transparency, undertaken research with consumers and providers to inform their proposals and have planned evaluation exercises. There has also been good progress on revamping the Legal Choices website.

Consumers will soon start to see the benefits of this work as these changes begin to be implemented.

There remain some issues that will need to be addressed over the next year relating to comparing the quality of providers and the feasibility of a joint register. It also remains our view that introducing mandatory transparency requirements is the preferred solution. Where regulators are pursuing voluntary approaches we have set a clear expectation that they review the effectiveness of their guidance to ensure it delivers the desired outcomes and if this is not sufficient to move to introduce mandatory transparency requirements. We will be monitoring this issue closely over the next period.

 

ENDS

For further information, please contact the LSB’s Communications Manager, Vincent McGovern (020 7271 0068).

Notes for editors:

  1. The Legal Services Board report ‘Increasing market transparency: LSB’s progress update on commitments in action plans published by frontline regulators‘ can be found here.
  2. The LSB’s 2017 comments on the regulators’ Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) action plans can be found here. The assessments of each individual regulator’s action plan can be found here.
  3. The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) legal service market study can be found here.
  4. The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
  5. The LSB oversees ten approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is an approved regulator for probate activities only but does not currently authorise anyone to offer this service.
  6. As at 1 April 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £31 billion per annum (2016) which is up 19% in cash terms since 2012. For more information see here.

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