Clients seeking immigration advice are most willing to pay for added legal protection – but will-writing clients would not stump up a penny, a new survey has found.

The Legal Services Board (pictured) yesterday published new research into the perceived value of regulatory protections for consumers.

Asking around 2,500 adults to put a price on the extra amount they would pay on top of legal fees, the survey found little enthusiasm for covering the cost of professional regulation.

But there was more support for more paying extra to fund solicitors’ education and training.

For immigration advice, respondents were willing to pay more than 25% of the estimated average fee for extra regulatory protection through education and training. They would also pay an additional 17% to cover compensation arrangements and 13% for professional regulation.

Respondents were also willing to pay at least an extra 13% towards regulation costs for welfare, employment and housing advice.

But for debt advice those surveyed would pay just 4% of their fee towards education and training and nothing for compensation or professional regulation.

Those paying for will writing were not willing to pay anything towards regulation costs.

The LSB summary said: ‘Respondents saw the most value in there being minimum education and training standards and professional regulation protections, with more than three in five (on average) saying that they believe those protections would ensure a more reliable quality of legal advice.

‘Respondents were least likely to believe that about the compensation arrangements protection. While there was some benefit to it, particularly for respondents who sought legal advice in relation to personal welfare issues, it was not seen as providing a protection against poor legal advice, but rather as a safety net for legal advisers, ensuring they are protected against their own errors.’

The majority of respondents were convinced extra investment in education and training would ensure a more reliable service, ranging from 69% in debt and housing cases to 85% in employment claims.

In every area of law, a greater proportion of people felt professional regulation would protect them, even if they were not willing to pay for it.

The data will be used to feed into ongoing discussions on the benefits of regulation, who should pay for what, and how much that should cost.