Review of the legal services market study in England and Wales

The CMA carried out an assessment of the implementation and impact of the recommendations of its 2016 market study into the legal services sector in England and Wales.


Review report

17 December 2020: The CMA has published its report on the findings of its review of the legal services market study in England and Wales. The CMA’s assessment of changes in the legal services sector since its market study has found some positive developments but concludes that further progress is needed.

The CMA now recommends that the Legal Services Board, working with other regulators in the sector, continues to build on the reforms made so far to improve transparency of information that can help consumers make informed choices, and addresses some aspects of the market study recommendations that still require progression, such as providing more information on quality. Alongside this, the CMA is repeating its call for the Ministry of Justice to undertake a review of the Legal Services Act 2007. In the meantime, the CMA is advocating that the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Services Board take some shorter-term steps which will deliver regulatory reform in stages.

Responses to call for inputs

22 October 2020: The CMA has published non-confidential versions of the responses submitted by stakeholders to its call for inputs either in full or as part of an anonymised set of summaries.

Responses listed below

We note that the regulatory bodies for legal services in England and Wales were asked additional questions supplementary to the call for inputs, that explore further details of their regulatory activities, and their responses above may cover these also.

Launch of Review

9 September 2020: The CMA announced it is undertaking a review of the progress in the legal services sector in England and Wales since its 2016 market study into that sector. The CMA has launched with a call for inputs and would welcome responses from interested parties to the specific questions identified by Wednesday 30 September 2020.

The CMA’s 2016 market study concluded that competition for individual consumers and small businesses was not working well. The CMA made recommendations to industry regulators to improve transparency by legal firms on price, quality and service, and to enable customers to navigate the market more easily and get value for money. It also made recommendations on regulatory reform, including to the Ministry of Justice, to consider whether consumers of unregulated services need stronger protections, particularly in terms of access to redress, and to review the regulatory framework for the longer term.

The CMA indicated in its market study report that it would assess progress in the sector after several years and is now doing so. Its short, focused 3-month review will assess the extent to which the market study recommendations have been taken forward and the impact that these changes have had on competition. The review will look at existing evidence from regulatory monitoring and other available research, as well as submissions from interested parties. The CMA will publish its findings in December 2020.

Personal information

The CMA may collect, use and share personal information (personal data) for its statutory functions under the Enterprise Act 2002. This includes processing personal data for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018.

For more information about how the CMA handles personal information, please see the CMA’s Personal Information Charter.

Published 9 September 2020
Last updated 17 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Review of progress in legal services sector and additional response published.

  2. Legal services market study responses published.

  3. First published.