New research designed to take a wide-ranging look into what gaps in legal services provision may exist across England and Wales, and what impact this might have on different groups of consumers, has been commissioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The study, which is to be led by Professors Irene Scopelliti and Zachary Estes from Bayes Business School of City University London, will begin by identifying different groups, or segments, of consumers based on their individual needs and behaviours when a legal issue arises and will attempt to identify where there are gaps in legal services provision and how these could be addressed. The research will also look at how factors such as ethnicity and socio-economic status can impact upon access to legal services.
The research runs until the autumn and will involve:
- a review and consolidation of existing data on consumer segmentation
- understanding the current level of legal service provision
- identifying different consumer types, the information and support they require for their legal journey and common barriers they encounter
- testing policy interventions.
The research project is part of the SRA’s ongoing work aligned to its Corporate Strategy commitment to deepen its understanding of consumer concerns and requirements and raise public awareness of legal services and how to use them.
Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA said:
‘We know that many people don’t access the legal services they need and that’s why we have commissioned this independent research. We want to understand which groups of people are most affected and why. This will in turn help us all to understand what needs to be done to help tackle the problems and then work out what part we might all need to play.’