It should be self-evident why solicitors cannot be more open about their prices.

They are not retrograde obstructionists, running scared of scrutiny and determined to keep clients in the dark.

They simply cannot set and publish prices for many complex pieces of work when there are so many differentials involved. To paraphrase one American, there are too many 'known unknowns' at play here.

There will be strands of work where firms can offer guidance, perhaps a price range, to let consumers know where they stand.

But to require them to be specific and commit to prices for clients yet to even get in contact is a road to ruin – or at least unpaid bills and the small claims court.

There may well be other industries where prices are fixed and on show. But the law is not a 'fruit and veg' stall - it is a dynamic and difficult sector, with feet-dragging opponents, and unpredictable and sometimes costly pitfalls along the way.

All of which makes it somewhat vexing that, on Tuesday this week, the regulator tweeted a poll asking what is 'stopping law firms from publishing prices'.

The options? 'Too complicated', 'fear of competition', 'not our businesses model' and 'competitors don’t publish'.

Now, a few points if I may. First, the 'what’s stopping you' tenor of the question implies this is something law firms should definitely already be doing - as if not publishing prices is akin to missing out on a bank holiday DFS sale.

And the options? They strike me as – at best – betraying a lack of understanding in profession and at worst sneering at the backward nature of the legal sector.

Publishing prices is either too much like hard work, too scary, too different or a waste of time because others aren't doing it.

I may be looking too hard at this, but the question implies there is something wrong with law firms for passing up this opportunity.

The reality, surely, is that firms may have entirely altruistic reasons for being wary. They harbour reservations about publishing prices because they fear either disappointing consumers or doing work for nothing because they set the parameters too low. In a week where law firms are being castigated for an apparent disconnect with clients, caution is entirely correct.

The SRA is being leant on to make transparency a priority, and of course consumers are best served by having as much information as possible.

But the regulator must be careful to avoid giving the impression that it wants to know the price of everything while understanding the value of nothing.

Law firms are reluctant to publish prices because that would create more confusion, not less. They are looking out for the consumer, not hiding anything from them. The SRA should include this as an option next time it conducts an online voxpop.