Public Deterred By Lack Of Cost Certainty In Legal Sector
Almost two thirds (58%) of the population remain disheartened with the legal sector, concerned that the current system does not adequately represent ordinary people with a further 79% searching for access to legal services to become easier.
According to the joint survey carried out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Nesta Challenges, a huge majority (68%) believe that price is still an insurmountable obstacle preventing people from accessing legal services.
The survey also revealed that the English and Welsh public are looking for the legal sector to fully embrace and expand its use of technology (59%) to improve the way services are offered to the consumer. Over a fifth of respondents (23%) believe that technological advancements would enable the legal sector to lower their prices, with 38% insistent that more firms would offer a fixed price if technology played a more prevalent role.
In a bid to combate these issues, the SRA and Nesta Challenges have launched a joint initiative, The Legal Access Challenge, which aims to increase the availability of legal services to the UK public whilst encouraging legal technology providers to improve their offerings of innovative technological products available to help the customer journey.
Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets, Nesta Challenges, said:
“For too many people, legal support and advice seems out of reach and reserved for those with the time and money to navigate a complex legal system.
“Technology is not a panacea, but in many areas of our lives it has transformed the choice, convenience and quality available to us and this could be true in legal services too. The UK is a world leader in both technology and legal services, and there is a huge economic and social opportunity in bringing these together.
“We are launching the Legal Access Challenge to help demonstrate what technology can do and to bring these new solutions to market. We want to see digital solutions that directly support individuals and small businesses to access legal services conveniently and affordably, and which can help close the ‘legal gap’ we currently face.”
Anna Bradley, SRA Chair, commented:
“Whether they are dealing with a personal legal matter , or running a business, people need to be able to get legal support when it really matters.
“Having access to professional advice is important at those life changing moments. And for small businesses, it can make the difference between success and failure.
“There are real barriers for people looking for help and the innovative use of technology is one way of tackling those barriers.
“We want our regulation to support new ideas. The Legal Access Challenge can help to drive the development of new approaches which will deliver tangible benefits to the public, opening up access to legal services for as many people as possible.”
When 37% of consumers are worried about who they can trust and 56% remain frustrated by the lack of cost certainty caused by unknown fees and disbursements, it is hoped that technological breakthroughs could improve communication and costs that are currently deterring the public from accessing legal services.
Will technological advancements in the legal sector improve efficiency, communication and lower costs?