The CMA Calls For Evidence As It Begins To Revisit Review

In 2016, the Competition Market Authority (CMA) carried out a review on the supply of legal services in England and Wales. After the review, the CMA outlined some recommendations and now it is taking some time to see if any progress has been made in the sector.

Back in 2016, the came to the conclusion that competition for individual consumers and small businesses wasn’t working well due to a number of factors. These included limited information available on price, quality and service to help clients choose the best type of legal support for them.

It was also discovered that regional variations in price meant that clients could be charged completely different amount for what is in essence the same service. This piece of information was a contributing factor to the Legal Services Board (LSB) recently coming out and encouraging clients to shop around for legal services.

At the end of the review the CMA provided recommendations to regulators and the Ministry of Justice, highlighting that:

  • Legal firms had to improve transparency on price, quality and service
  • Consideration could be made to give people who use unregulated services stronger protections and review a long-term regulatory framework

A statement published by the CMA read:

“The CMA indicated in its market study report that it would assess progress in the sector after several years and is now doing so. Its short, focused review will assess the extent to which the market study recommendations have been taken forward and the impact that these changes have had on competition.

“The 3-month long review will help the CMA examine if further measures are necessary to increase consumer engagement and help drive increased competition. It will look at existing evidence from regulatory monitoring and other available research, as well as submissions from interested parties.

More information about how to submit your views is available here.

Simon Davis, President of the Law Society of England and Wales said:

“We welcome the opportunity to engage with the CMA on their review.”

“The CMA has previously made recommendations to regulators to improve law firms’ transparency on price, quality and service, so that those with legal issues can more easily and transparently navigate the market.

“A wide range of solicitors are now displaying their prices on their websites. Clients also need to consider a range of other factors including the complexity of the issue and the quality of the service.”

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