Regulator’s plans could require legal firms to publish tariff of fees

Under new proposals by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) law firms could be required to publish their fees for a range of popular services such as conveyancing and the drafting of Wills.

The SRA has confirmed that it is currently in the process of liaising with “law firms about the different areas that would work, and what would not” in order to determine how, as well as which, services will be affected.

Crispin Passmore, executive policy director at the SRA, noted: “There’s no point in picking something massively bespoke. It’s got to be reasonably standard”.

Under the first phase of proposals, Mr Passmore has said that the regulator will focus on three or four areas of consumer law.

It is thought that numerous common legal services such as conveyancing, divorce and the drafting of Wills and lasting powers of attorney (LPAs), will be affected.

Mr Passmore said that it was highly important for consumers to be given “the right amount of information on [legal] fees,” however, he added that the SRA’s proposals would seek to ensure that firms would not be “forced” to charge their clients “in a particular way”.

In January, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggested that legal regulators should set ‘minimum standards’ for the publication of prices – but such standards are yet to be announced or confirmed by the SRA.

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