In 2016, the CMA carried out a market study into the supply of legal services in England and Wales, concluding that competition for individual consumers and small businesses was not working well. In particular, there was not enough information available on price, quality and service to help those who need legal support choose the best option.
It also found that obtaining the right service at good value can be challenging as consumers face wide variations in the cost of similar services. They can also struggle to find enough information to help them identify their legal need in the first place.
The CMA made recommendations to industry regulators to improve transparency by legal firms on price, quality and service, and to enable customers to navigate the market more easily and get value for money. It also made recommendations on regulatory reform, including to the Ministry of Justice to consider whether consumers of unregulated services need stronger protections and to review the regulatory framework for the longer term.
The CMA indicated in its market study report that it would assess progress in the sector after several years and is now doing so. Its short, focused review will assess the extent to which the market study recommendations have been taken forward and the impact that these changes have had on competition.
The 3-month long review will help the CMA examine if further measures are necessary to increase consumer engagement and help drive increased competition. It will look at existing evidence from regulatory monitoring and other available research, as well as submissions from interested parties.