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24 August 2016

Lawyers should be upfront about prices, says watchdog

The legal profession is not moving quickly enough to address the concerns of consumers over transparency in pricing and quality, according to the industry's consumer watchdog.

By Victoria Basham

Potapova Valeriya

In its interim report into legal services, the Competition and Markets Authority says that the profession’s reluctance to provide consumers with the information they need in order to choose the appropriate provider is reducing its competitiveness.

Price and quality information

In a letter responding to the report, the Legal Services Consumer Panel’s chair Elisabeth Davies urges regulators to ensure that both price and quality information is made available. She writes that higher prices must not be assumed to equate to higher quality but that law firms should, where fixed prices are not an option, give details of the average cost of services they provide in each area of practice.

Market driven solutions preferable

Meanwhile, the Law Society’s chief executive Catherine Dixon does not believe that further intervention from regulators is the right approach: ‘Where possible, solutions driven by the market are preferable to those driven by regulation and we believe that our legal services market is competitive and will continue to evolve and innovate to meet the needs of clients ever more effectively.’

Sources: Law Society Gazette; Law Society

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