The Bar Standards Board (“BSB”), which regulates barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales has issued a policy consultation focused on the recommendations of the Competition & Market Authority (CMA) issued in December 2016.
The recommendations of the CMA included inter alia delivering a ‘step change’ in transparency with the overall aim of improving consumer understanding, to facilitate “shopping around” and ultimately driving competition.
The proposals contained in the BSB consultation include:
The BSB has agreed not to impose disclosure requirements in relation to hourly rates and fixed fees on barristers undertaking work referred by solicitors. However, the regulator’s view is that all barristers should be required to meet minimum transparency standards in relation to service and redress.
Following a further rule change consultation planned for later this year and approval by the Legal Services Board (LSB), these transparency requirements will come into force by May 2019. However, the BSB is not proposing to make compliance with any fee transparency requirements mandatory until early 2020. The effectiveness of the new requirements rules will be evaluated from December 2020.
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