The rules aim to address the perception that people and businesses struggle to find clear information about the services firms offer and overestimate the costs of using a law firm.
From 6 December, SRA regulated firms will be required to:
Any regulated firm which publicises the fact that it offers any of the services below is required to present clear and understandable price and service information in a prominent area of the firm's website (or make that information available on request if the firm does not have a website, for example, in a leaflet).
The new requirements are that the firm gives the consumer an understanding of the likely costs prior to engagement, by:
In addition to price information, firms are also required to provide clarity on what the firm is providing:
This may be just the start. Comments from the SRA indicate that the scope of services may extend in the future with firms encouraged to voluntarily publish information on additional legal services they offer.
The requirement to publish ‘standard’ price and service information for what is often a bespoke service, creates an administrative burden, particularly the initial analysis and collation of price data. Some practical points to consider are:
The Law Society has also provided a useful Price and Service Transparency Practice Note for its members.
For more information please contact Ross Prince or your usual contact.