The SRA is consulting on publishing more of the regulatory data that they hold about solicitors and firms they regulate. They are also consulting on asking the solicitors and firms they regulate to publish more information on the legal services they provide. The SRA is proposing to:
- require firms to publish their price for services (limited initially to a select number of legal services)
- require firms to publish a description of the services they offer – in the same areas we will ask firms to publish price information
- require firms to make information on SRA regulatory protections available – this includes introducing a digital badge that verifies that a firm is regulated by the SRA
- publish the data already collect on first-tier complaints made against firms they regulate and their areas of practice
- build a digital register that holds SRA key regulatory data about solicitors and firms they regulate in one place and make this available to the public.
- require solicitors working in non-Legal Services Act regulated firms to inform clients that they are not subject to the SRA requirements for compulsory professional indemnity insurance.
The SRA is proposing these changes because they want to make sure that people have accurate and relevant information about a solicitor or firm when they are considering purchasing legal services. This will help members of the public and small businesses make informed choices and improve competition.
The consultation is running from 27 September 2017 until 20 December 2017. After the consultation closes, the SRA will collate and analyse all the responses and will then decide what next steps they need to take. To read the consultation and supporting documents in full see the SRA’s website.
This consultation is highly relevant to ICLR conference session 1, ‘Legal Regulation in the Age of Data’. Topics to be explored in this session include: why and how regulators should harness data, working with external researchers, and what sort of information regulators can share to help the users of legal services.