The Bar Standards Board (BSB) today welcomed the interim report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The BSB looks forward to working with the CMA as they seek to improve competition in the provision of legal services.
The BSB agrees with the CMA that individuals and small businesses would benefit from better information about the quality and price of legal services. The regulator shares the CMA’s aim to promote competition in the provision of legal services. The BSB is already working to improve the information which legal customers receive through the client care letters which they require barristers to send to their clients.
The BSB notes the CMA’s view that they have not seen clear evidence that the current regulatory framework significantly impedes competition and that, while moving to an alternative model may generate longer term benefits, changes to the regulatory framework also carry risks. The BSB welcomes the CMA’s support for the principles that regulators must be fully independent and that regulation should be proportionate and risk based. The BSB recently set out its risk based approach to regulation in a series of documents published in April.
BSB Director General Dr Vanessa Davies said: “We welcome the CMA’s report. We agree that consumers would benefit from better information about the price and quality of different legal services providers and we look forward to working with them as they take their work forward. We are already working to improve the information which customers receive through client care letters. We also welcome the CMA’s support for the principle that regulators must be fully independent from the providers whom they regulate.”