The Legal Services Board (LSB) has launched yet another consumer focused consultation – this time on a draft statutory statement of policy on empowering consumers which outlines how regulators should ensure that people and small businesses who need legal advice have the information they need to shop around and exercise choice.
The LSB wishes to set expectations about ensuring legal services providers offer helpful information to consumers about the cost and quality of their services and on redress and regulation, something which those who have jumped through the various SRA Transparency Rule hoops could be forgiven for thinking had already been done.
The statement from the LSB states also that it is proposing that regulators put in place:
“effective programmes of activity to support public legal education, focusing on activities that support people to understand when they have a legal problem and how to access the professional help they need to resolve it”.
This could include contributing to “meaningful” cross-sector initiatives like the Legal Choices platform to improve the public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties.
The consultation follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) market study of legal services in 2016 and a further review in 2020. In both assessments, the CMA found that the market was not working in the best interests of consumers. It recommended that the regulators improve market transparency for consumers and the LSB to coordinate and oversee progress.
Whilst many providers will possibly dread yet more regulations on how they should be promoting their services, the LSB sees opportunities for continued addressing of the challenges that face consumers engaging effectively with the market.