Price and Service Transparency
For consumers to make an informed choice of legal services provider it's vital they can assess price and service provision information to help them decide on their provider of choice. This increased transparency can also greatly benefit ICAEW probate accredited firms and help them stand out in the legal services marketplace.
Mandatory publication of price and service transparency information
The Legal Services Board has approved ICAEW’s application to update its Probate Regulations to mandate the publication of price and service information. The regulations are in effect now, but firms have until 1 February 2022 to comply.
What should you do now?
Update your website, engagement letters and other communication materials to publish the required price and service information.
Probate firms must publish:
- Total fees or estimates of the likely fees for services that you provide.
- The basis fees are charged on.
- A description of services you provide with key stages.
- Likely timescales for different services.
- Details of your firm’s complaints procedure and how and when clients can complain to ICAEW and/or the Legal Ombudsman.
- How to complain to ICAEW
- Signposting consumers to the Legal Services Ombudsman
- ICAEW accreditation. Download the ICAEW probate accredited logo.
- Arrangements of ICAEW's compensation fund (ie, the consumer’s ability to claim from the ICAEW compensation fund) and your firm’s professional indemnity insurance.
Changes must be made by 1 February 2022.
The new regulations
Compliance with the updated Probate Regulations will be assessed by our Quality Assurance team as part of all probate monitoring reviews.
Transparency of pricing and services can bring significant benefits:
- Potential clients will compare the transparency and quality of information provided by firms. Firms that adopt the transparency requirements will have a commercial advantage over those that do not.
- Complaints caused by a lack of information on pricing and services at the outset of the engagement can be avoided.
- Transparency of pricing will highlight the lower costs a multi-disciplinary firm can offer its clients.
- It will support and encourage a culture change regarding how transparency is viewed.
Further information regarding the background to the changes can be found by reading ICAEW’s 2021 consultation on the issue.
Following the results of the consultation, ICAEW applied to the Legal Services Board (LSB) to update the Probate Regulations. The LSB provided its approval for the changes in November 2021.