Watchdogs launch probe
Competition investigation into Scottish legal services
Scottish legal services will be subject to the first investigation in Scotland by the Competition and Markets Authority since it expanded its office in Edinburgh last year.
It will examine the recommendations made by Esther Roberton in her review of the sector published last October which included a call for a a single independent body to regulate the legal profession, set standards and handle complaints.
The CMA said it welcomed the review, which has sparked a debate about how to ensure the regulation of Scottish legal service providers delivers value for money and choice for consumers, as well as benefitting businesses and the economy.
it will work with the Scottish Government in determining how to take forward the recommendations and will build on work already done as part of the CMA’s study into the supply of legal services in England and Wales. It will examine whether there is evidence of a lack of competition among legal services providers in Scotland, as was the case in England and Wales.
The research will also focus on:
- the benefits of independent regulation of legal services in Scotland and whether the current institutional arrangement dampens competition
- the impact of the current legal services regulatory framework in Scotland on competition, particularly on innovation and the entry of new business models to the market
It is the CMA’s first Scotland-specific project since the expansion of its Edinburgh office last year to help the organisation better identify and resolve issues that harm Scottish consumers.
The CMA intends to publish its findings in early 2020.
It has published a document setting out it views on the Roberton Review and has supported the recommendation that the new regulatory model should be principles-based, sustainable and flexible and based on the Better Regulation Principles. It also welcomes the establishment of a regulator that is independent from the profession and government.