Almost one in five law firms are not complying with the transparency rules, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has found in a random web sweep.
The Transparency Rules came into effect in December 2018 and require firms to publish price and service information for a range of common legal services, as well as complaints information.
To check whether firms are displaying the correct information, the SRA is conducting random web sweeps twice a year.
The first of these took place in March / April 2019, and involved 500 firms. Of those with a working website:
- 25% were fully complying
- 58% were partially complying
- 17% were not complying with the rules at all.
The area with the lowest level of compliance was immigration, with one third of firms not providing any of the required information.
The SRA are following up with all firms where there were issues. Firms who are not complying at all have two months to do so, or may risk facing enforcement action.
If a firm is only partially complying, the SRA has highlighted what they need to do to fully comply. These firms will be targeted in future web sweeps.
Areas to improve your firm’s transparency
The most common areas of non-compliance were a failure to:
- publish complaints information
- specify the amount of VAT applied to costs and disbursements
- display information on key stages or likely timescales.
- provide a description or estimated costs of likely disbursements.