SRA commence consumer research

The SRA are looking at how the public access legal services and conducting a number of consumer visits around the country.

The first of these saw the people of Llandudno canvassed for their views. The SRA was in North Wales last month to gauge the opinions of local people on the legal services market.

The visits are part of the SRA’s new consumer research project.

The research will look at problems consumers might face when accessing legal services, and if more information could improve customer experience.

The SRA research team will also be talking to legal services firms, and information providers such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, charities, law centres and trade unions, to understand how consumers get information about legal services, and how this could be improved.

Tim Livesley, SRA Head of Research, said: "It’s great to be out on the road talking to legal services consumers across the country.

“We hope to improve our understanding of the barriers to consumers achieving good outcomes with a legal services provider, and what types of information can help break down some of these barriers.”

Richard Silver, SRA Policy Officer for Consumer Affairs said: "We found that many people were familiar with firms with local offices, which indicates the power the high street practice still has in some communities.

“We also found that in hypothetical scenarios around conveyancing, it was cost that came back time and time again as the main decision criterion when appointing a solicitor.”

"A few mentioned other factors, like speed or communication, but the over-riding factor was definitely looking for the cheapest quote first and foremost.

“We have seen this before in some of our previous consumer research but perhaps not as starkly as this — I suspect this is a reflection as well of the economic climate.

The SRA plans to publish the research report in early 2013, and hopes to include details of how it will use the findings to drive improved outcomes for consumers.

The next phases of the research project are scheduled for Birmingham later this month.

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