Transparency Rules and guidance
Our Transparency Rules apply to regulated firms providing legal services in conveyancing, probate and immigration.
The Rules aim to make sure that consumers have the information that they need when they are choosing legal services, so they can make an informed decision about which provider to instruct.
The Rules set out the minimum information that firms must provide, but we encourage them to provide additional information that they think will help consumers understand the services they offer. Firms are required to publish information on:
- complaints procedure
- regulatory status
This must be published on their homepage or through a link from their homepage in a format that is clear, easy to find and understand. If a firm doesn’t have a website, they are required to make the information available on request.
Firms can implement the requirements in a way that best meets the needs of their business and clients. Our transparency guidance and checklist suggest how firms could go about providing the information, with optional presentations and templates. The guidance also sets out the benefits of making information available, both to businesses and consumers. Further information about our requirements for complaints handling is provided in our First Tier Complaints Handling Guidance.
At present, the Transparency Rules apply only to regulated firms providing legal services in residential conveyancing, immigration and probate. We will consider extending them to other legal services in the future.
We continue to work with the other legal services regulators on the consumer-facing website, Legal Choices. We encourage our regulated firms, and all members of our regulated community, to provide a link to the website in their client communications.
Improving comparison information for consumers
What do you think makes a good quality legal service? It could be argued that it is the level of expertise of the person providing the service, or whether the legal work is carried out accurately. It could also be said that it is the way it is delivered, in terms of speed or other aspects of customer service.
A legal sector pilot is being launched looking at what more can be done to improve the range and the accessibility of information available to consumers about legal service quality. The pilot will focus initially on conveyancing and employment law services.
Members of the public are increasingly looking for information that can help them understand the quality of legal services they might receive, to help them compare different firms and lawyers. Our Transparency Rules set out what we expect our authorised firms delivering specific legal services to publish. With the current increase in use of the internet to search for legal services, it is all the more important that firms provide this information.
Consumer demand for reliable and trusted digital information is increasing generally. Research by Ofcom shows that UK adults now spend more than a quarter of their waking day online, a trend driven by the pandemic. It is timely to look at whether comparison websites and other digital tools can play a bigger role in the legal services market.
About the pilot
Working with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Council for Licensed Conveyancers, we will trial some new approaches to improve the information available to the public about lawyers and their services.
The pilot will concentrate firstly on two areas of the legal sector – conveyancing, and employment law – and initially focus on opportunities for firms to seek feedback from their clients and to manage online customer reviews. We are looking for regulated law firms to take part in the pilot.
How to take part
If you work in a regulated firm which provides conveyancing and/or employment law services and you are interested in finding out more, please contact either your regulator (SRA or CLC) or us at email@example.com