For a long time the legal services industry has seemed confusing and often expensive for customers, but it has been revealed that many firms themselves find the complex and overly stringent regulations system a nightmare to navigate.
The framework is seemingly just as complicated for solicitors and barristers as it is for the customer. But there is some hope for all parties in the form of a new CMA (Competitions and Market Authority) investigation.
The hope is that the investigation from an official body can help to tidy up a lot of the things which make the industry so complicated. One huge worry for The Law Society (representing over 130,000 solicitors for England and Wales) has been the overregulation of its members. It claims that regulations are too heavy compared to newer entrants in the law industry, who appear to go unregulated.
There is an added incentive for the legal sector to ensure everything is in order and that there is plenty of competition. Currently, there is around £30bn (estimated) in turnover for the economy tied up in the industry. In fact, a lot of the country’s foreign earnings come from the legal work done, with financial traders and oil traders among some of the top spenders.
A whole host of legal services are available across the country, with everything from family law to employment law involving multiple parties. The CMA investigation is set to study how the market currently works, with a possible referral for a more focused investigation to go deeper if it feels one is required.
The investigation comes on the back of survey results which saw customers claiming that the advice and service given to them was poor. Additionally, many small businesses claimed they only used legal services as their very last resort, with few finding them very useful for the money they have to spend.
Regulations currently work to protect the public when taking on board legal services, but with many operators feeling they are unduly scrutinised in comparison to others; there is a huge call for the regulation to be applied in a fairer manner across all organisations.
The Legal Services Act 2007 sets out some very specific rules on what customers can expect and how professionals within the industry should act. It’s hoped that these are upheld and strengthened by the CMA’s involvement, promoting access to justice for all and for professionals to work in the best interests of their clients.
At Barnes and Partners we know how important it is for customers to get value for money when obtaining legal services from solicitors. That’s why we welcome the CMA investigation and hope that the industry as a whole can be improved. We believe we already provide the best service, with experienced and compassionate solicitors.