Right touch regulation needed

Proportionate, outcomes-focused and ‘right touch’ regulation needed to not disadvantage start-ups

22 August 2016

Reforms arising from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) study into legal service should not put market entrants and start-ups at a disadvantage compared to established providers, according to the professional association for specialist lawyers.

CILEx has responded to the CMA’s interim report, saying that consumer protection should be the first criterion for assessing the impact of possible regulatory changes, along with the practicalities of the changes and their wider impact on society. However consideration should also be given to how they will affect non-established legal businesses.

CILEx chief operating officer Linda Ford said: “Proposals to tackle price transparency, enabling online comparison, and improving information for clients, are targeted at what are perceived as shortcomings from established legal businesses. However it’s important that start-ups and market entrants are not overburdened if additional expectations are to be placed on legal service providers. It is still relatively recently that Chartered Legal Executives have gained the ability to establish their own law firms delivering reserved legal activities, and right-touch regulation is needed to see them thrive.”

CILEx also recommends that reform of the regulatory landscape should be considered holistically, and that encouraging an independent and diverse legal profession, supporting the rule of law, and improving access to justice, are just as important in protecting the interests of consumers as promoting competition.

Click here to read the CILEx submission to the CMA's interim report.