Removing barriers to understand legal advice

The Legal Services Board (LSB), an oversight regulator, has published a report recommending legal regulators should make changes to make the solicitor services more accessible to their end users. Lessons should be learnt from other sectors, such as the financial, utility and healthcare services, where a lot of work has been dedicated to remove barriers for consumers. The legal sector will be at an advantage to apply this accordingly without using extensive resources as a new scheme.

Chief Executive of LSB, Neil Buckley points out that a huge number of consumers who need legal help will not do so. They appear to experience many barriers where one of the main obstacles is the jargon used in accessing services including those wishing to claim for personal injury. Neil Buckley is keen for the new report to assist the legal regulators to tackle the difficulties faced by the end users.

The LSB declares that they have acquired ideas and advice from Department for Work and Pensions and Financial Conduct Authority to enhance the current work assumed by the legal regulators. There are no intentions to completely restructure the regulatory process at present.

Recommendations

A major hindrance for consumers, even for those seeking compensation for injuries, is the lengthy terms and conditions which can stop continuing a contract altogether or prevent a subsequent request for legal help. The recommendations in the report acknowledge this and advise on presenting information in a clearer format, in bold or in short summarised statements.

The compelling idea is to remove jargon and technical language for those trying to access solicitor services or legal advice. There is a suggestion to offer solicitors with resources to guide them in making their services more explicable and to use a mark of regulation to reassure consumers and claimants.

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