The Legal Services Board (England and Wales) has published research which monitors the average prices that consumers pay for a number of common legal services. Understanding changes in prices over time helps determine whether there have been any improvements in the extent of competition between providers, and affordability and access to justice for consumers. It provides unique insight for those with an interest in these areas within the legal services market.
For the first time this research enabled an analysis of changes over time of the average prices that consumers pay for 15 services covering conveyancing, divorce, wills, lasting power of attorney, probate, and estate administration. This builds on the survey published in 2016.
- There is a continued significant variation in the price that consumers pay for the same service, so it pays to shop around.
- Fixed fees continue to be cheaper than other forms of charging in all three market segments
- There has been no change in the proportion of firms displaying prices on their website between 2015 and 2017 (18%), pointing to a continued lack of information to enable consumers to easily shop around.
- Prices have changed in six of the 15 scenarios – rising in three divorce scenarios, and falling in two conveyancing scenarios, and in the Lasting Power of Attorney scenario.
This new information will feed into the LSB’s ongoing market evaluation, which seeks to establish the impact of reforms on the legal sector market. Moreover, the LSB believe the findings of this second wave of the research reinforce the Competition and Markets Authority’s conclusions that competition in the sector is not working well and should assist regulators in shaping plans to improve transparency in the market.