Risk blog

New year - New research

By Debra Malpass on 24 January 2017

Research continues to play an important role in shaping our policies and in supporting the way we work. Our last blog of 2016 provided a flavour of the research planned for the year ahead, and highlighted our commitment to embedding new ideas into our research projects.

New projects

We will be delivering four external research projects in 2017, focusing on a range of issues from conveyancing to criminal advocacy. January is a time when people might have had to return unwanted Christmas presents and customer service was an increasingly important factor for a lot of us. Customer service is also of vital importance in legal services, so rather fittingly, our first research for the year focuses on consumer complaints. What is it that leads consumers to complain? What are their experiences of complaining to law firms about the quality of service, and how good are firms at resolving these issues? This project is being jointly commissioned by the Legal Ombudsman.

We follow our focus on complaints with a project on the transparency of legal costs. This is an issue identified by the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP), and again more recently in a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report.This project will look to identify the pros and cons of providing consumers with estimate quotes and explore the potential benefits of using fixed fee agreements. 

Building on the work on the CMA and LSCP alike, we are also looking to identify in more detail what consumers and firms think about cost transparency and the use of comparison sites for legal services. 

In the second half of the year we look to the areas of conveyancing and criminal advocacy. 

We end the year much as we started, focussing on the quality of legal services. While we began by looking at complaints, we end by profiling the criminal advocacy, and exploring the working practices of solicitors in this area. 

New prospects 

As we mentioned in our last blog post, the successes of our projects depend upon your continued engagement, for which we are grateful to have received. The year brings with it exciting new work streams, including a long-term focus on behavioural insights (which we will blog about in the spring), new topics to explore, and most importantly more work! 

In pursuit of continuous improvement in the legal market we will explore new areas, and we look forward to working with you in 2017.

Also watch this space for our research into experiences of consumers who may be vulnerable in family law.

Debra Malpass