SRA publishes family law research
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published independent research exploring the experiences of potentially vulnerable people using family law services.
The survey reveals that most solicitors appear to be providing services in line with expected standards and, in particular, are helping people to make choices about the services they need by, for example, training staff to receive initial calls, or setting up longer or free initial meetings.
The report stated that most consumers (86 percent) reported that finding a solicitor was easy although some consumers reported issues with accessing the necessary information to make an informed choice, particularly around cost and an individual solicitor’s experience.
The report went on to state that just under one-third of consumers in the survey (31 per cent) reported their solicitor’s costs to be unaffordable whilst almost half (47 percent) felt that their solicitor’s costs were more than expected. Of this group, two-thirds (26 respondents) said that their solicitor had not explained why the cost was higher.
To help consumers address costs, some legal firms were offering approaches such as unbundling (85 percent) or fixed fees (88 percent). However, it was felt that these could be challenging to implement in family law cases.
So far as quality of service was concerned, there was fairly strong agreement by consumers that their solicitor met the core competencies, particularly those relating to their professional manner, with just over half (58 percent) of consumers rating the overall quality of the service they received as either good or excellent.