The Council for Licensed Conveyancers says it wants legal practice websites to list cost information, including whether they have referral arrangements.
The CLC is submitting an application to the Legal Services Board to amend its rules and require its members to supply this material online and in other formats.
“It will be up to firms to decide how they wish to achieve this, but the CLC will publish best practice guidance along with cost estimate templates, to ensure quotes are comprehensive and comparable” says the body.
It says the proposals aim to empower consumers to make better informed decisions about their choice of legal service provider. The new requirements also aim to foster innovation and competition in the legal services market.
A statement from the CLC says it wants to encourage greater transparency for consumers on service standards and increase the opportunity for practices to differentiate themselves from competitors and appeal to clients on grounds other than costs.
Therefore it wants practices’ websites to also include information on the ‘key stages’ of the conveyancing services the firms deliver, and Indicative timescales.
“These changes mean that consumer will have access to information before they decide who to use, so giving them additional and clearer information upon which to base their decision” explains Sheila Kumar, chief executive of the CLC.
“Providing clear information to customers makes good business sense. CLC-licensed firms should see the changes as providing them with new opportunities to create a competitive advantage as they focus on service and quality” she adds.
“These rule changes implement recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority and all legal sector regulators are introducing a similar approach to ensure consistency across all regulated sectors.”