6th December

Price Transparency Deadline

New SRA and CLC rules governing Price Transparency come into force in December

CLC Price & Service Transparency Rule Changes Deadline

CLC Price & Service Transparency Rule Changes Deadline - Informed Choice Rules

Last Updated: 27th September 2018

We have produced an overview of how the changes to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) Regulatory Arrangements will affect your CLC regulated law firm as detailed in the Informed Choice section of the CLC website.

The new rules are a result of the recommendations set out in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Legal Services Market Study regarding price and service transparency.

CHANGE HISTORY

3/9/18 - Updated to reflect that the Legal Services Board (LSB) has now approved the CLC's changes to the regulatory arrangements

27/9/18 - Added updates for CLC Informed Choice guidance

What are the changes to the Regulatory Arrangements?

Under the CLC's new Regulatory Arrangements firms must display in a prominent place on their website:

  1. Cost information;
  2. Service information;
  3. Regulatory information; and
  4. Complaints information.

Firms are also encouraged to consider the benefits and risks of third party feedback platforms and price comparison websites for them and their clients.

What are the changes to the Regulatory Arrangements?

According to the CLC's Informed Choice Guidance:

“The aim of the new requirements is for consumers to have the information they need, when they need it, to help them make an informed decision about which legal services provider to choose.”

These new requirements are grouped together under the new "Informed Choice Rules" which include:

  1. Code of Conduct AMENDMENTS
  2. Estimates and Terms of Engagement Code AMENDMENTS
  3. Complaints code AMENDMENTS

How am I expected to publish my prices under the amended Estimates & Terms of Engagement Code?

The CLC has worked with other regulators in order to agree common frameworks for publishing price information on certain services.

Publishing Price information through your website

CLC regulated firms are already required to provide a cost estimate to clients at the outset of instructions and to make it simple for clients and prospective clients to find pricing information.

According to the CLC's Informed Choice Guidance firms must:

"Display cost information on your website, which should be easily accessible and in a prominent place, and by other reasonable means on request."

‘Cost information’ is defined as:

  1. the total cost of the service or, where not practicable, the average cost or range of costs;
  2. a description of the service offered;
  3. your fee, or where not practicable your average fee or range of fees;
  4. whether your fees are determined as a fixed sum or by reference to hourly rates;
  5. a description and the value of disbursements, including Land Tax. Where the actual cost of a disbursement is not known, a range of the likely cost of that disbursement;
  6. whether VAT is payable on your fees or disbursements and if so in each case the amount of VAT payable;
  7. whether you have referral arrangements with third parties, whether a referral fee is paid and, if so, the fee or average referral fee payable.

The CLC also notes that:

“You could provide ... An instant estimate generator on your website or via a third party website. The generator should produce an instant estimate directly to the consumer. A consumer shouldn’t have to provide contact details to receive a call-back or email for an estimate.”

Our QuoteXpress platform includes an instant online quote generator that you can add to your own website - register your firm for a free 30 day trial today.

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What if I don't have a website?

According to the CLC Guidance:

“If you don’t have a website, you must provide the information by ‘other reasonable means on request’ which could include email, post or leaflets available for consumers visiting your office.”

What guidance has the CLC issued?

The CLC has produced Informed Choice Guidance, which is included below for reference and has also added a new Informed Choice section to its website.

If you cannot see the consultation paper then your web browser does not support embedded PDF's - in which case you will need to download the paper to view it.

When will the Informed Choice Rules come into force and what is the implementation deadline?

According to the CLC the rules will come into force on December 6th 2018

Which legal services are affected by the Informed Choice Rules?

Whilst there are a wide range of services covered by the new SRA Transparency Rules the CLC’s consultation only covers the legal services regulated by the CLC - conveyancing and probate.

The table below details conveyancing and probate case types and whether QuoteXpress can generate an instant fee estimate for the service:

For Consumers

Case Type Available in QuoteXpress?
Residential Conveyancing - Sales Yes
Residential Conveyancing - Purchases Yes
Residential Conveyancing - Remortgages (and mortgages) Yes
Probate (uncontested) Yes

What do the cost estimate templates look like?

The new templates are encapsulated in the CLC cost estimate templates, and are included below for reference.

What questions do I need to ask in order to produce a transparent fee estimate for conveyancing?

With respect to conveyancing, templates for calculating conveyancing fees were developed between the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The information you are expected to capture in order to produce an accurate and transparent fee estimate is as follows:

Required Information Asked in QuoteXpress and automatically factored into the fees if required?
whether a first-time buyer Yes
value of sale/purchase Yes
whether a remortgage Yes
whether freehold or leasehold Yes 
whether a new build Yes 
whether first registration of title Yes
whether mortgage or not Yes
whether an Islamic mortgage Yes 
in purchase cases, whether primary residence, buy to let or second/holiday home Yes 
whether multiple owners Yes 
whether a shared ownership scheme Yes 
whether using a help to buy scheme Yes
whether purchase under right to buy Yes
whether purchase at auction Yes 
whether property has been repossessed Yes 

What questions do I need to ask in order to produce a transparent fee estimate for probate?

With respect to probate, a template for calculating probate fees has been developed between the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The information you are expected to capture in order to produce an accurate and transparent fee estimate is as follows:

Required Information Asked in QuoteXpress and automatically factored into the fees if required?
Whether there is a will and if it has been located Yes
Identity of inquirer and if, they are not an executor, whether all executors have died or refused to act Yes
Estimated value of assets Yes
Whether there is property in the estate Yes
Whether any property is outside England and Wales Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property
Whether the grant of probate is likely to be contested Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property
Number of actual assets/ liabilities (apart from properties and value of) Yes
Number of properties and value of Yes
Number of beneficiaries Yes
Are any of the beneficiaries mentally incapable or a minor Yes
Are there any trusts in the Will Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property (coming soon)
Is the estate a taxable one or not Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property (coming soon)
If the estate is not taxable on first light then enquire as to whether any gifts were made in lifetime that may make estate taxable Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property (coming soon)
Any missing beneficiaries or any forensic work needed to create family tree under intestacy Draft Estimate saved so that further enquires can be made as to the nature of the property (coming soon)

How can QuoteXpress help?

QuoteXpress can help your firm comply with the new Regulatory Arrangements and Transparency Rules by providing you with an instant online quote generator you can add to your website and help your firm to meet the requirements of the new rules. Register instantly for a free 30 day trial or get in touch today!

SRA CLC Transparency Rules

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