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Price and service transparency

1 November 2018

From 6 December 2018, firms will be required to publish information about certain price, service and regulatory matters.

This practice note offers support to solicitors in deciding how to comply with these new requirements.

Legal status

This practice note is the Law Society's view of good practice in this area. It is not legal advice.

Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society's view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them, but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.

Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.

For queries and comments on this practice note, contact the Law Society's Practice Advice Service.

Professional conduct

The following sections of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 are relevant for this issue:

  • Outcome 1.12
  • Outcome 1.13
  • Outcome 1.9
  • Outcome 1.10
  • Outcome 8.1
  • Outcome 8.2
  • Indicative behaviours 1.13-1.21
  • Indicative behaviour 8.7
  • Indicative behaviour 8.8
  • Indicative behaviour 8.9

This practice note will be updated if the SRA Code is replaced by two new Codes (which currently await approval from the Legal Services Board).

SRA Principles

There are 10 mandatory principles that apply to all those the SRA regulates and to all aspects of practice.1 The principles can be found in the SRA Handbook.

In publicising price and service information, you should consider:

  • Principle 2 - act with integrity
  • Principle 4 - act in the best interests of each client
  • Principle 5 - provide a proper standard of service to your clients
  • Principle 6 - behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services
  • Principle 7 - comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner

The SRA has also issued non-mandatory ethics guidance giving its views on ways in which firms might comply with the Transparency Rules.

Terminology

Must - A specific requirement in legislation or of a principle, rule, outcome or other mandatory provision in the SRA Handbook. You must comply, unless there are specific exemptions or defences provided for in relevant legislation or the SRA Handbook.

Should - Outside of a regulatory context, good practice for most situations in the Law Society's view. In the case of the SRA Handbook, an indicative behaviour or other non-mandatory provision (such as may be set out in notes or guidance).

These may not be the only means of complying with legislative or regulatory requirements and there may be situations where the suggested route is not the best possible route to meet the needs of your client. However, if you do not follow the suggested route, you should be able to justify to oversight bodies why the alternative approach you have taken is appropriate, either for your practice or in the particular retainer.

May - An non-exhaustive list of options for meeting your obligations or running your practice. Which option you choose is determined by the profile of the individual practice, client or retainer. You may be required to justify why this was an appropriate option to oversight bodies.

SRA Code - SRA Code of Conduct 2011

O - Outcome

IB - Indicative behaviour

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Practice Advice Service

The Practice Advice Service provides a dedicated support line for Law Society members and employees of law firms. Call us on 020 7320 5675.

> Contact the Practice Advice Service

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