Increased transparency in legal services sector called for

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Increased transparency in legal services sector called for (image credit: iStock/serggn)

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the publication of a new report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding weak competition within the UK's legal services market in the current economic climate.

Outlining a current shortfall in competition between legal services providers, the CMA argued that this weakness in the sector could now be having an adverse impact on the nation's businesses.

Overall, the CMA revealed that just 17 per cent of legal services providers currently publish their pricing online, meaning there is an underlying lack of transparency that makes comparing offerings between service operators extremely difficult.

As a result, the FSB has now backed the CMA's stance of carrying out a further in-depth review of the industry to better understand how improvements can be made in this area, with the FSB in support of current proposals for a legal requirement to force UK legal providers to publish their tariffs.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry commented: "Smaller firms can often fail to recognise a problem as a legal issue, or assume a legal resolution to be too expensive, time-consuming or risky to pursue. Greater transparency on price and quality of legal services will encourage more small businesses to seek expert advice when necessary.

"We're pleased the CMA is now looking to close the gaps in the market we identified, improving the legal services industry for small businesses."

He added that many UK firms could benefit from a greater use of legal services providers to tackle a range of issues they face on a daily basis. However, the current complexity of the market and the lack of transparency makes this an unlikely prospect at the current time.