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Price and service transparency Q&A

18 July 2017

Helping clients to make informed decisions about legal services that best meet their needs is a priority for solicitors. We highlight some of the key questions regarding our price and service transparency toolkit which enables you to consider how to provide the best possible cost and service information to clients.

When should I publish my prices and pricing structures for services on my website?

Publishing this information can make it easier for potential clients to understand what to expect if they engage your services and to make a more informed decision about their choice of solicitor. You will however need to communicate the price and service clearly. In your communications with clients, whether they are online or in person, you need to bear in mind that:

  • You must ensure that any publicity provided by your firm must not be misleading or inaccurate. (Outcome (O8.1) of the SRA Code of Conduct)
  • Publicity relating to your firm’s charges must be clearly expressed, and must state whether disbursements and VAT are included in the quoted sum. (O8.2)
  • You should avoid estimating charges at an unrealistically low level. (Indicative Behaviour (IB8.7) of the SRA Code of Conduct)
  • You should not describe overheads of your firm (such as normal postage, telephone calls and charges arising in respect of client due diligence under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007) as disbursements. (IB8.8)
  • You should not advertise an estimated or fixed fee without making it clear that additional charges may be payable, if that is the case. (IB8.9)

Should I describe business overheads (for example postage, telephone calls or customer due diligence charges) as disbursements on my website?

You should not do this - it contravenes IB8.8 of the SRA Code of Conduct. The following should also not be described as disbursements:

  • annual subscription costs and transaction fees for using online solutions to manage business practices
  • professional indemnity insurance
  • telegraphic transfers

There are a number of other restrictions on publicising your firm's prices and services.

I am considering whether to publish price information online - How should I go about doing this?

Publicising your prices and services online may make this information easier for potential clients to access. You will however need to clearly communicate the price and service. There are a number of ways to do this. For example some firms will publicise their fee for a standard package, while explaining that the cost of the service may have to be adapted due to the client's situation. They then invite potential clients to contact them to receive an accurate quote.

For more information see our price and service transparency toolkit.