Are Solicitors Still Unsure About Transparency Rules?

In December 2018, new rules entered the legal services sector which required firms and free lance solicitors to publish their prices on their website, to enable clients to gain an understanding of the cost of legal services.

18 months on, a survey conducted by law firm consultant DG Legal has revealed that 90% of firms are failing to comply with the price transparency rules.

72% of firms have also failed to provide and/or display information surrounding complaints handling.

These failings consisted of:

  • Not giving enough information
  • Not making the pricing section sufficiently prominent

But it’s not just pricing where firms are still failing to adhere to the rules. There are also other areas where their compliance is lacking.

There were a number of other areas where firms have seemingly failed to comply with a number of other rules. These areas include:

  • Around a quarter of firms were not displaying the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s (SRA) digital badge or their SRA number either at all, or if it was displayed it wasn’t prominent
  • GDPR rules were found to be breached
    • The privacy policy of 20% of firms were found to not adhere to the GDPR rules
    • The ‘contact us’ form on law firm websites did not refer to the privacy policy on 62% of the websites surveyed
  • The Data Protection Act was breached at over a quarter (26%) of firms, who haven’t secured their website
  • Logos were used incorrectly or were found to be out of date on a third of the firms websites

According to David Gilmore, Director at DG Legal, the survey shows that solicitors and firms are still unclear when it comes to their obligations with regards to the transparency rules.

He said:

“There is a myth that the rules cover only prices. The rules also cover use of the digital badge, complaints handling, and the firm’s SRA number.

“The SRA has been contacting firms that aren’t fully complying with the rules asking them to comply within a period of one month.

“For firms that do not do so, follow-up action is taken and regulatory action is taken with those that do not engage.”

Do you think the transparency rules are clear?

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