Review of the Legal Services Market
First published by Author on November 04, 2020 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | investigations | pricing
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review of the implementation and impact of the recommendations of its 2016 market study into the legal services market in England and Wales.
CMA’s 2016 Market Study
The 2016 review followed concerns by consumers that they may not be getting a good deal from legal services providers. There was also evidence that a high proportion of consumers were not seeking to purchase legal services when they had legal needs, which is believed to be driven, in part, by the high cost of legal services.
This also highlighted the possibility that regulation might be dampening competition in the legal services market.
The 2016 market study found that there was not enough information made available on price, quality and service to help those in need of legal support to choose the best option that they could. In the CMA’s concluding statement, they made recommendations to legal services regulators to improve transparency from legal firms on price, service, redress, and regulatory status. These steps would also promote the use of quality signals by providers and issue guidance to providers on engaging with online reviews. Their main conclusion was that the recommended steps in place would enable customers to navigate the sector more easily and get better value for their money.
You can find more about the 2016 market study here.
Launch of the review into the Legal Services Market
On the 9th September, the CMA announced the launch of its review into the legal services market, following its 2016 market study. In the concluding statement of their 2016 report, the CMA committed to further enquiries, stating that, ‘if we were not satisfied with the progress that had been made, we would consider whether there is a need for further action by us, or further action by others.’
Following this, the CMA is understood to be undertaking a short, focused assessment of the extent to which their original recommendations have been implemented, and the impact of the changes on competition. Their plan is to conduct a three-month review into the legal services market, primarily focusing on reviewing existing evidence, recent research, and ongoing monitoring by the Legal Service Board (LSB). This is a focus on the three themes originally explored in the 2016 market study.
The CMA is also set to be gathering views from stakeholders on how the sector has evolved since the original study was conducted, and put out a call for inputs to gather outside views. The deadline for the call has now passed and these opinions are now set be factored into the report.
The importance of competition law
No one should ever lose out financially, or lose out on better services and benefits, as a result of poor competition or anti-competitive behaviour.
As a law firm, we understand the importance of competition in our sector, and we recognise the importance of the CMA’s work in this particular market.
We will continue to monitor for developments as we all aim to make sure that the consumer has the best choice available when it comes to quality and cost. Competition law must never be breached.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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