Research published today by the Legal Services Board on the cost of divorce, wills and conveyancing shows that legal advice is generally 20% cheaper in the north of England and 17% cheaper in Wales. Firms based in London were on average 33% more expensive than those based outside the capital.
Researchers also found no price difference between law firms delivering services remotely and those providing them face-to-face. Providers who offered fixed prices were on average 35% cheaper than those using estimates.
The LSB is continuing its call to those with a legal problem to shop around and save potentially hundreds of pounds, with a survey showing just 21% on consumers doing this already.
Dr Helen Phillips, chair of the LSB, said: ‘Whether buying a home, getting divorced, or making a will, we encourage people to shop around to find a good value deal that meets their needs.
‘Unless they shop around, people risk paying far more than they need to. Where people don’t feel they need to deal with a lawyer face to face, they could make considerable savings by using providers in parts of the country where prices are cheaper.’
Cost and transparency around cost has been a constant issue since the 2016 Competition and Markets Authority report on the legal service market. One of its key recommendations was that firms be more upfront about the cost of their services, and as of December 2018 solicitor firms were required to publish their prices on their websites for certain services.
The LSB research published today finds that 52% of divorce providers now display prices on their websites compared with 22% in 2017. In conveyancing, 73% of providers now display prices on their website, up from only 11% in 2017, while 59% of providers of wills, trusts and probate services now display prices on their website compared with 21% in 2017.
Phillips added: ‘Legal services regulators must more actively enforce compliance with their transparency rules and legal providers must design services that meet people’s needs.
‘This includes making their prices clearer upfront to give people certainty about the costs they will face and make it easier to compare prices.’