You could hear the cheers from Pontefract to Pontypridd as the Legal Services Board last week urged consumers to shop nationally for the best deals on legal advice.
The super-regulator came up with the staggering revelation that law firms in London, with higher rents and wages to pay, are more expensive than elsewhere. Not only that, but getting a divorce or writing a will was up to 20% cheaper in the north of England and Wales than the rest of the country (just wait until they hear how much a pint costs in Merthyr Tydfil).
‘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,’ said LSB chair Dr Helen Phillips.
The suggestion that conveyancing services can be done without clients ever meeting would presumably be of interest to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which warned earlier this year that a lack of face-to-face meetings was a key difficulty for due diligence checks on clients to prevent money laundering.
And Obiter also wonders how northern and Welsh lawyers feel about being tagged as the cheaper option. The issue of whether they can actually provide a quality service, in addition to being a cost-effective choice, appears to be completely absent in the LSB’s 76-page report.