CMA interim report supports independent regulators

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) produces interim report of the legal services market.

“It is therefore possible that an alternative regulatory model may improve competition if it is successful in reducing the emphasis on regulatory titles.”

The CMA also came out in favour of the legal regulators having “full independence” from the providers they regulate.

Senior director for the legal services market study, Rachel Merelie, said: “Consumers in this market are often not equipped with the right information before they make important purchasing decisions – which often come at critical points in their lives…

“Without greater transparency, individual and small business consumers find it difficult to compare and choose providers of legal services. For many of them this is an infrequent purchase and a lack of experience or prior knowledge makes it very challenging to assess what represents good value.

“As a result, they tend to rely on recommendations from family or friends in choosing providers without checking for themselves what the market has to offer. This is unlikely to drive effective competition.

“The lack of competition may remove a crucial incentive for such firms to compete on price and quality as well as innovate and may help to explain why there have been long-standing concerns over the affordability and accessibility of legal services.”

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