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Price and service transparency

8 August 2019

In 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority completed its study to see if the legal services market was working for the public and small businesses.

It recommended regulators take action to improve the information available to prospective clients upfront, to help people make more informed decisions about legal services.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consulted on new price and service transparency proposals in 2017. In June 2018, the SRA announced it was going ahead with its main proposals. The Legal Services Board approved them in August 2018.

The SRA’s Transparency Rules came into force on 6 December 2018.

Our view

When the SRA held its consultation on the Transparency Rules, we opposed the changes as we did not think they were necessary or proportionate.

We believe it’s important that clients can make informed decisions about the solicitors they choose. But solicitors already provide clear information to clients about how much legal services cost.

Clients also have different legal needs and legal services are complex. Our consumer research suggested that simply providing information on a website is unlikely to help many consumers searching for legal services.

What this means for solicitors

The rules affect all regulated law firms or sole practitioners who publicise their services for certain areas of law. These solicitors must publish information on their websites about prices and services.

If you do not have a website, you must make the information available on request, for example in a brochure or leaflet.

What we’re doing

August 2019 – we published a guide to price and service transparency, with example wording to help you comply with the rules. This guide should be read alongside the price and service transparency practice note.

November 2018 – to help you meet the new requirements, we published our price and service transparency practice note.

July 2018 – after the SRA decided to go ahead with the changes, we developed a detailed briefing for members.

December 2017 – we responded to the SRA’s consultation to give our views on its proposals.

Get involved

We’d like to hear about your experience putting the SRA’s Transparency Rules into practice. This will help us:

  • develop useful guidance for solicitors
  • understand the impact of the rules for any future review

You can send your feedback to regulation@lawsociety.org.uk.