Use of fixed fees continues to rise, survey finds

New research has found that nearly half of all consumer legal services are provided on a fixed-fee basis.

The tracker survey conducted by the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) showed that over the six years of the study, consumers had started shopping around for their services more, but the overall figure – one in four – remained small.

When it came to choosing services reputation remained the most important factor when selecting a legal firm, but in areas such as conveyancing price was as important.

When it came to the charging of fees, in the first tracker survey by LSCP in 2011 around 38 per cent of transactions were done on a fixed basis.

In comparison, the latest study showed this figure had grown to 48 per cent, while just 7 per cent of consumers paid on an hourly rate.

Meanwhile, 5 per cent were charged on a percentage-based fee and 11 per cent a combination of charging methods.

However, 17 per cent reported paying nothing through the use of free services, which continued on a downward trend that the panel described as “worrying”.

Satisfaction with legal services remained high at 80 per cent, with – face-to-face services recording higher satisfaction. However, value for money continued to lag behind at 61 per cent, while satisfaction with the outcome has remained consistently high at 85 per cent.

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