This week, the SRA has announced as part of its “Looking to the Future” programme that it will widen the areas of law where firms will have to publish their prices, as well as what those fees cover, online. The areas affected are probate, motoring offences, immigration, debt recovery of amounts up to £100,000, and employment tribunals. Firms will have just 6 months to comply with the new requirement. The SRA stated, “Our ‘Better Information, more Choice’ reforms are designed to improve public access to legal services by making information on price, protections and services more easily available.”
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has also recently announced that it will instruct its members to publish their fees on their websites, along with whether they have any referral arrangements, as part of a drive to improve transparency and choice for consumers.
Last autumn, the CLC issued a consultation called “Helping Consumers Choose Their Lawyer – Service, Quality and Price Transparency”, which proposed to follow and implement the recommendations of the 2016 report from the Competition and Markets Authority that found a lack of transparency around prices was hampering competition in the legal market.
When the SRA ran a consultation on publishing for law firms in September last year, the announcement that law firms may have to publish their fees online was not met with universal approval from the legal profession.
There is certainly an understanding among regulatory bodies that it is beneficial for legal consumers to be as fully informed as possible about law firms, including how they charge for certain services, before engaging a solicitor.
Oratto understands the importance of transparent pricing and providing the legal consumer with the information they require to make a decision about whom they engage. This is reflected in our Probate Costs Calculator, which provides instant onscreen quotes for probate and estate administration work. The consumer can peruse a range of transparently priced quotes from specialist solicitors in the comfort of their own home and select the one that they feel offers the best price for the work involved. Unlike most high street solicitors, our quotes are not based on a percentage of the overall estate value but on the actual work required; this means that our quotes are far more competitive – and fair – to the legal consumer. All our quotes are transparent with no hidden costs, and there are no legal fees to pay upfront, as all costs are recovered from the estate after probate has been granted. For more information about our fixed fee probate quotes, please click here - Probate Costs Calculator
While this move will not be welcomed by some law firms, this is very good news for the legal consumer.