Chair's Blog


Much ado about something

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced that from autumn 2018, solicitors will be able to offer services within unauthorised or unregulated firms. The SRA proposes to remove the existing prohibition which precludes this type of set-up. For the first time, a consumer will be able to purchase legal services from a solicitor operating within…

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Intervention needed on price transparency

“Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore, author and consultant The interim report of the much awaited Competition and Markets Authority’s review into the legal services market has confirmed that consumers need access to better information to help them make informed decisions. This is…

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What to do about innovation?

Thinking beyond the 21st century On 9 November, the Legal Services Board and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority published joint research on innovation in legal services. Inevitably I found myself questioning: what does innovation mean? For the Panel we interpret innovation as taking a market wide view of the whole legal ecosystem. So that’s including regulated and…

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Unbundled legal services

Guest Blog – Cathy Gallagher – Reflecting on objections Last year, the Consumer Panel’s tracker survey found that one in five consumers were ‘unbundling’ their legal services. In its simplest terms, ‘unbundling’ separates a package of legal services into parts or tasks. The consumer and the legal services provider then agree which parts of the…

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The blind truth about informed consent

Guest Blog – Andy Foster – Reforming the Separate Business Rule I downloaded some music the other day from a well-known on-line music retailer. Just before I completed the transaction I was greeted with a message asking me to accept the terms and conditions of the retailer. I gave a cursory scroll down the page which seemed…

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Complaints and confusion

Revisiting the maze At the end of August the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) withdrew its application to the Legal Services Board to become an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider under the EU Directive on Consumer ADR. This wasn’t something we were expecting, and we didn’t see this coming. The main question now is what could be the…

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The quality commodity

Does quality come at a price? Does whether you pay for something have an impact on the quality you expect? On first reading you might say yes, absolutely. The more you’ve spent on something, the more you value it and the more you therefore expect it to be of a good quality. Behavioural economics says a…

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2020: Where are we now?

Reflections on our 2020 report The Panel’s 2020 report was published back in November 2014. Since this time it feels like many of the themes in the report have come up time and time again and I’ve found myself asking the same questions. Question one: Is access to justice the same as access to a…

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Can advice be good for your health?

Guest Blog – Marlene Winfield – The information prescription Years ago, I met with a group of carers of people recently diagnosed with dementia. When I asked how supportive their GPs were, half said their GPs were useless and half said their GPs had changed their lives. The difference turned out to be giving them one telephone…

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A legal response to negative online reviews

Guest Blog – Michelle Goddard – Muffling the consumer voice Comparison websites are a useful choice tool for improving consumers’ ability to make informed choices in the complex maze of the legal services market. It’s clear that allowing online reviews of legal services on these types of platforms is helpful, especially if the feedback is curated…

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Radical change in the court room?

CPS consult on new approach to make sure people are properly prepared to give evidence in court This week we’ve welcomed the news that the Director of Public Prosecutions is consulting on providing greater assistance to victims giving evidence at court. The consultation sets out for the first time the need to better assist victims…

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