Pressure mounts on legal sector to make services easier for customers to understand as another consumer body joins the debate

 
Hayley Kirton
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The report says the legal services marketplace is lagging behind other sectors in information available (Source: Getty)

Legal sector regulators are facing further calls to make the marketplace easier for consumers to understand, as yet another consumer-focused body has voiced concerns.

A report out today by the Legal Services Consumer Panel urges regulators to do more to make sure consumers can easily access useful information to help them make informed decisions. The study also states that the legal market lags behind other comparable sectors, where information on factors like first-tier complaints handling and pricing is readily available.

"More needs to be done to empower consumers and encourage them to make informed decisions," said Elisabeth Davies, chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel. "Information, simply presented, at the time of need, is one tool that can be used by legal services regulators. We have seen this tool adopted in other sectors and although there are challenges, we hope regulators rise to the task and begin the journey towards more transparency, and effective engagement."

The report's release comes less than a month after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a market study into the legal services sector, with one of the aims of the study being to review how able consumers are to make informed purchasing decisions.

Read more: Three-quarters of top judges are privately educated

"Not being equipped with the necessary knowledge stops customers exercising choice and prevents competition working effectively," said Rachel Merelie, senior director at the CMA, at the time the Authority's study was announced. "We want to see if some customers end up paying more than they expected or receive a poor service. We also think there may be questions over the redress available if this does happen."

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