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Blunt regulation may not help clients

7 July 2017

Compulsory rules to publish reams of information about legal services may mislead clients rather than help them, the Law Society of England and Wales warned today.

Responding to proposals from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Law Society president Joe Egan warned that "more information doesn't necessarily mean better information".

"Solicitors help their clients make informed choices by providing information that is relevant to the matter in hand," said Joe Egan.

"Forcing firms to publish a raft of information without proper context has the potential to mislead clients.

"Before introducing more regulation, the SRA should demonstrate that the information it seeks to be published will be useful to clients."

The latest SRA proposals coincide with its other plan to allow solicitors to work out of unregulated entities. The SRA has said that unregulated entities will not be forced to publish any information about their business, including about the level of client protection they offer.

Joe Egan elaborated:  "Clients who do not benefit from regulatory protections like insurance have the greatest need for clear information before they make a purchasing decision. Yet they will not be covered by these new requirements." 

The Law Society's Transparency Toolkit supports solicitors to provide the most relevant and useful information in the most appropriate way for their clients. We have developed information for the public through Find a Solicitor and on our website, to help them to make informed choices about the legal services they engage.

Joe Egan concluded: "Helping clients to make informed choices about legal services is at the heart of every solicitor's practice. Clients have an enormous range of requirements, knowledge, preferences and objectives, even when it comes to relatively straightforward legal transactions like conveyancing.

"As a profession we will continue to adapt and innovate to meet client needs."

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact:  Harriet Beaumont | +44 (0)20 7320 5830