Law firms should publish details of complaints and prices, consumer panel says

8 February, 2016

The Legal Services Consumer Panel has said that law firms should be required by their regulators to publish details of complaints and average prices on their websites.

The Panel has also called on regulators to ensure firms provide “more sector-specific information” about legal services, such as litigation outcomes and success rates.

The Panel has been calling on regulators to improve consumer’s access to information on law firms for a long-time.

In a report entitled Opening up Data in Legal Services, it said legal regulators should “make the collation and publication of first-tier complaints a regulatory requirement and mandate for its publication”.

A spokeswoman for the Panel said this could include the number of complaints per year and the kind of legal work involved. She said it could be subject to a threshold, removing the need for some firms to publish anything.

The document also recommends that law firms should also be required to publish “the average cost of legal services” on their website and provide consumers with this information on request.

The report said: “Fixed fees are the optimum solution especially in areas like family law and will writing where consumers are often at their most vulnerable.

“If fixed fees cannot be offered in these cases, then providers of services should be able to give clients a range of prices, using previous experience and professional expertise to cost appropriately.”

Elisabeth Davies, Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel said more needed to be done to encourage consumers to make informed decisions.

“Information, simply presented, at the time of need, is one tool that can be used by legal services regulators. We have seen this tool adopted in other sectors and although there are challenges, we hope regulators rise to the task and begin the journey towards more transparency, and effective engagement,” said Ms Davies.

Being open and transparent about your fees may seem like walking a fine line between revealing too much and revealing too little, which is why most practices do not openly publish their fees.

This can make setting your own fees more difficult, but with the help of our team’s expertise at Watson Buckle we can help you set your rates and create a competitive package that will appeal to a wide range of clients.

To find out how we can help you with your fee income, please contact us.