Better transparency in the probate sector

Consumer transparency is essential across all professional services, but in the legal sector, it could be considered even more so given the infrequent use of legal services. As the regulator of probate and conveyancing legal services, the CLC recognise the importance of not only the highest standards of client service and protection, but also of the client being able to make a meaningful and informed choice of legal service provider.

The push for transparency around price, service type and service quality was a key topic highlighted at the Modern Law Conveyancing Conference, held earlier this year. Whilst there were concerns expressed regarding the impact on price, the general conclusion seemed to be optimistic. Ending on a positive note, speakers drew attention to the greater certainty it could bring for consumers, particularly during a period of market uncertainty.

Following recommendations from the Competitions and Markets Authority, the CLC recently published an action plan setting out approaches to implementing their proposals for improving transparency.

The main aims put forward intend to benefit both professionals and consumers, with a greater use of comparative tools. When in search of a legal service, the ambition is that consumers will be able to gain a clearer understanding of the price, service type and quality and regulatory status of the service provider.

As well as enabling consumers to compare legal service providers more easily, the greater ease of comparison will present firms with a greater opportunity. As the focus shifts onto the quality of service, legal service providers will be able to demonstrate their standards, justifying why their services are superior to those of a competitor.

Where legal services are concerned, the choice of a consumer is unlikely to be based on price alone, especially where authoritative views on service quality are easily available alongside information on price.

Commenting on the distinct aims of the CMA, Chief of Executive of the CLC, Sheila Kumar stated: “The recommendations from the CMA are clear and actionable. We have been listening carefully to conveyancing and probate specialists around England and Wales at conferences and in discussion groups for over six months about how we should implement those recommendations. Our discussions have helped us to develop an approach to improving information for consumers that we believe holds opportunities for firms regulated by the CLC as well as delivering improvements in consumer choice. We look forward to continuing those conversations when we consult on detailed proposals in the autumn.”

This article was submitted to be published by Council for Licensed Conveyancers as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.

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