27 November, 2018
The new Informed Choice requirements will bring benefits to CLC firms as well as consumers if the changes are fully embraced.
From 6 December, firms licensed by the CLC will be required to display cost, service and regulatory information on their websites. The changes to our Regulatory Arrangements have been kept to a minimum to provide practices with the greatest flexibility in implementing the new requirements.
The new rules set out the minimum information that these firms must provide. The supporting guidance outlines best practice and suggests additional information that may help consumers to understand the services offered by CLC licensed firms.
There are advantages in providing more information than the rules require and firms may see significant benefits in spending time considering how to implement the changes to best suit their business and clients.
Legal services are perceived amongst some consumers to be expensive. Consumers who are shopping around are more likely to engage with your practice if they can see the potential costs of the service, especially if they are browsing online out of normal office hours.
Being clear about the cost of the services you provide will give consumers confidence to approach your practice and may help to avoid misunderstandings and cost related complaints later in the transaction.
Consumers value knowing who will be handling their conveyancing transaction or probate matter and how the work will be carried out.
Providing details of your staff mix, experience and qualifications along with any additional services you offer will help you to differentiate the services you provide from your competitors.
This information will show consumers that your practice has the right experience, knowledge and tools to help them with their legal issue.
Complaints and redress information
Being up front and explaining that you have a complaints procedure in place in the unlikely event that something goes wrong can offer reassurance to consumers in choosing you.
Consumers need to know that they can complain, easily find out how to do so and know that there is a Legal Ombudsman where they can take unresolved complaints.
Providing this information demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent consumer service.
Research has shown that consumers assume that all legal service providers are regulated even though they are not. You should distinguish yourself as regulated by displaying the CLC secure badge in a prominent place on your website and including your practice number on all communications.
You can reassure consumers of the professional standards you adhere to along with the consumer protections offered by PII and possible access to the CLC Compensation Fund.
More information about good practice and tips to help you implement the new requirements can be found on our Informed Choice toolkit