Chair’s Blog


Responsible technological innovation that improves access to justice

I joined the Legal Services Consumer Panel in April 2019 and immediately began to contribute to a Lawtech paper which was subsequently published in May 2019. That paper encouraged legal services regulators to be more proactive on Lawtech. The report emphasised the importance of responsive regulation, incentivising providers to innovate, and adequately protecting consumers. We couldn’t…

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A Digital Swansong

Marlene Winfield OBE has spent her career giving a voice to users of public services, including for the last six years as a member of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, where she has made a huge contribution through her expertise in consumer engagement, understanding of what has worked (or not worked) in other sectors –…

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Law in the time of Corona

Every single person reading this blog post has been touched in one way or the other by the Coronavirus. Its disruption will continue to be felt long after we have beaten it. Right now, we must first focus on taking care of ourselves and each other by staying indoors whenever possible. And second, we must…

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A Christmas Carol for Legal Service Users (with apologies to Mr Dickens)

Christmas Past: Over the past year we faced the spectre of significant reduction in the protection available to those using the services of solicitors, with the proposed SRA reforms to their rules on PII.  We were also experiencing some frustration with the slow pace at which the CMA reforms on transparency were being taken forward….

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Disappearing Lawyers – Are Advice Deserts stoppable?

Those who follow the legal press will be familiar with recent stories of legal aid reducing, ‘advice deserts’ growing, and specialist lawyers becoming thin on the ground. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures illustrate the problem within just one area. In 2012/13, 82,554 social security cases had legal aid help, compared to just 443 in 2017/18….

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Regulatory Performance– room for improvement for all.

Last week, the Legal Services Board (LSB) published its regulatory performance report. It is an insightful and comprehensive read. More than that, it signals a necessary change of tone and focus in an area that is crucial to LSB’s existence: providing oversight to ensure regulation delivers good consumer outcomes. It does, however, raise questions for me…

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Conveyancers4Consumers?

Since 2011, the Legal Services Consumer Panel has published an Annual Tracker survey[i] about how consumers are choosing and using legal services. This important research has helped drive the transparency agenda championed by the CMA[ii]. Taking a deeper dive into the Panel’s research produces some perhaps unsurprising findings. For example, it finds that the most-used legal…

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Towards the publication of complaints data

I was pleased that one of my first meetings as the recently appointed Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel was a Roundtable event which explored how legal services regulators could use data about complaints. The meeting drew heavily on experiences from other sectors, and highlighted, to varying degrees, how consumers, their representatives, businesses, and…

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Price Transparency, shifting the culture

The Competition and Markets Authority’s critical report into the lack of pertinent information for consumers of legal services is fast approaching its one year anniversary. Since then, the Panel has published further evidence showing an unchanged sector. In November, our annual Tracker Survey showed that only 6% of consumers found the price of services on…

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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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