Transparency

At the risk of saturating everyone with yet more Government Consultation papers it is incumbent upon our Sub-Committee to remind you that the latest SRA consultation paper on the subject of “Transparency” opened on 27 September and expires on 20 December. Please click on this link to download and respond. Whilst most of us feel we may be bashing our heads against a brick wall with these exercises, if nobody sends in a response we will most certainly achieve nothing. Your Non- Contentious Business Sub-Committee, Property Working Group, sent in a detailed response recently to the Government Consultation Paper on “unfair leasehold practices”. And I also know that several of you sent in individual responses to that as well, which can only be good. We will continue to make an input on behalf of our members.

 

I think that this “transparency” paper is much more over-arching and is part of a wider review by the Competition and Marketing Authority- so not just with conveyancing in mind – your firms may wish to take a broader brush approach.

 

However, much has been recently discussed about price standardisation within the realm of conveyancing. Yet the SRA state that “they are looking at transparency and apparently not at price standardisation. They state they do not want to interfere in how prices themselves are set. Their approach so far seems to be that, whatever pricing model or approach a firm uses to price its services, the firm will have to publish on line for consumers to look at. The new rules will likely be minimum standards, so firms will be free to add more information and context to differentiate themselves from other solicitor firms and providers. They do not have plans to standardise costs.”*

 

With this in mind our Sub-Committee are inviting Michael Lonergan to give a presentation early 2018 at Exeter Racecourse to the profession to expand on the SRA’s intentions and The Law Society’s input regarding this initiative. This should include an explanation of The Law Society’s “price and service transparency toolkit”.

 

Further details at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/price-and-service-transparency-toolkit/

 

Watch this space for details of the projected presentation next year.

 

*Michael Lonergan, Policy Advisor, Regulatory Affairs, The Law Society

 

Patricia Durham Hall

Vice- Chair, Non-Contentious Business Sub-Committee

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