The fig-leaf of protection for consumer harm

It is almost two years since the Final Report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation was published (all of the Review’s papers are available here).  The catalyst for the Review was the market study carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority.  The CMA concluded that the legal sector was not working well for consumers.  In carrying out its work, the CMA made several references to consumer harm and detriment.  So, too, did the Final Report. 

However, what transpired in conversations following the Final Report was that the nature of consumer harm was largely being assumed or only illustrated.  A core goal of regulation – the protection of consumers from harm – faced some under-developed but important challenges.  What exactly are the types of consumer harm in legal services, the causes of that harm, the consequences of experienced harm, and the particular remedies that might be available for it (depending on its nature and who caused it)? 

The Supplementary Report to the IRLSR (Consumer harm and legal services: from fig leaf to legal well-being, published today) seeks to answer these questions, and this post is taken from the Preface.

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Is the BigLaw business model sustainable?

This is the question that I was recently given five minutes to answer! This post is intended as a more expanded response. It begs some prior questions about what we mean by ‘BigLaw’, ‘business model’ and ‘the BigLaw business model’. But [spoiler alert] the short and long answers are the same: it doesn’t look like it.

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IRLSR: key proposals and reactions so far

This post is the text of the opening keynote address delivered to the Westminster Legal Policy Forum on the future of legal services in England & Wales (held online on 15 September 2020). A PDF of the address is also available for download here.

Every time I looked at the draft of the final report, I would change something or elaborate on aspects of it.  It wasn’t that I had changed my mind, but that I was always trying to make my meaning and intention as clear as possible.  With the report[1] having been submitted to the Lord Chancellor and published, I am therefore content for now that the report should speak for itself – subject to one caveat that I shall return to later.

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