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29 June, 2017
The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has today published its Action Plan to implement the recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). These are aimed at ensuring that consumers are able to make well-informed choices of legal service provider.
The key recommendation from the CMA asks the legal services regulators to ‘deliver a step change in standards of transparency to help consumers (i) understand the price and service they will receive, what redress is available and the regulatory status of their provider and (ii) compare providers’.
The CLC has been talking to the specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers it regulates about this agenda since 2016. It has also been discussing with the Society of Licensed Conveyancers innovative ways to meet the CMA’s expectations that serve consumers and help legal businesses. How the market responds will be a consideration in how far CLC needs to be prescriptive by way of regulation. We are heartened by the considerable progress there has been since our early consultation activity in January.
Chief Executive of the CLC, Sheila Kumar, said: ‘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.’
Chair of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, Simon Law said: ‘The Society of Licensed Conveyancers is delighted that the CLC has been engaging with us and with our members so constructively so that we can work together to identify a pragmatic approach to the CMA’s recommendations. The Society is working with potential providers of a system that will deliver transparent and comparable information to help clients choose their legal service provider and give conveyancing specialists a new tool to win clients.’
Rob Hailstone of Bold Legal Group said: ‘It will be vital that conveyancers review and comment on the CLC’s proposals in the autumn. We must take this opportunity to continue to shape the practice of conveyancing and put businesses onto a firmer footing by harnessing the new transparency requirements in order to secure business. If the profession fails to make the new regime work, it may be that a different one will be imposed on us in the future, with who knows what impact.’