SRA contacts 500 firms for price transparency compliance declaration
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched its latest crackdown on price transparency compliance. The regulator has this week contacted nearly 500 law firms to request completion of a questionnaire and signed declaration the firm is compliant with the SRA Transparency Rules. It has requested the completion of the declaration by 14th August.
The SRA has also confirmed plans to contact a further 8,000 firms, with disciplinary action and a potential fine with figures around £2,000 already levied on non-compliant firms. For firms without a website, they must still complete the questionnaire and submit it to the SRA.
The SRA has updated its “Transparency in price and service” guidance which now includes factors to consider if you are using an online quote calculator for conveyancing matters.
In it, the SRA recommend ways to outline the quotation to ensure it is compliant; ideas for managing client expectations with the inclusion of external links to educate home movers about the process; and key stages you may with to include in communications around freehold and leasehold purchases.
Price transparency was introduced following the Competition and Markets Authority 2016 review which concluded there was insufficient information in the public domain for people to make informed choices about legal services. The Rules came into effect on 6 December 2018.
Since November 2019 it is compulsory for all SRA and CLC regulated firms to show the clickable verification logo or digital badge which allows members of the public to easily identify that a website they are visiting belongs to a genuine SRA regulated firm. Clicking on the link also provides consumers with information about how they are protected under the firm’s regulated status.
A copy of the SRA’s communication to firms has kindly been provided by the SRA Press Office
The SRA Transparency Rules came into effect on 6 December 2018. They are designed to make sure consumers have accurate and relevant information about a solicitor or firm, allowing them to make informed choices. The requirement to display the SRA’s clickable logo (also known as the digital badge) came into effect on 25 November 2019, as part of the introduction of the Standards and Regulations.
We now require your firm’s Compliance Officer for Legal Practice to declare whether you have a website that is compliant with the rules and displays the SRA’s clickable logo.
The deadline for completion of the declaration is close of business on 27 August 2021.
The link below will take you to the declaration form. It will take around 10 minutes to complete and you will need to ensure the declaration is accurate before submission.
If your firm does not have a website, the declaration must still be completed to record this.
We have produced guidance about how to comply with the rules and our enforcement approach.