15 September 2019

Call for CMA pilot volunteers

As part of the CMA consultation, we are piloting the suggested new mandatory transparency requirements. The piloting will test what is set out in the consultation and help to determine not only what will have the greatest impact in terms of consumer benefit and driving competition, but also what will be feasible for the practising Bar to implement.

We are looking for volunteers to pilot the suggested requirements from November 2017 to February 2018. This will allow us to collect feedback and insights from the profession before the proposals are implemented at the end of 2018. Sole practitioners, chambers and entities are all welcome to take part in the pilot.

Pilot participants will test the minimum disclosure requirements in relation to price, service and redress which are suggested in the consultation (while pilot participants will be able to go beyond the minimum requirements, this will not be mandatory). In line with what is suggested in the consultation, pilot participants will need to comply with the minimum requirements when undertaking Public Access work, and referral work where the client is entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman. They can do this by providing the necessary price, service and redress information on a dedicated page or section of their website.

The pilot will have no impact on fees charged as the purpose is not to prescribe how fees should be set, but to test transparency. We are also not proposing a "one size fits all" model and so while pilot participants will need to comply with the minimum requirements, there may be variations in how they choose to present the information. We will be on hand to provide support and guidance throughout the pilot.

Many barristers and chambers will already be providing much of the necessary information on their websites, and so we do hope that you will consider taking part in the pilot.

Chambers may wish to participate in the pilot as a whole, or alternatively a smaller number of members may wish to participate. We are prepared to be flexible as to the number of members who participate, so please do contact us to discuss. While we are aiming to begin operating the pilot scheme on Wednesday 1 November, there will also be flexibility on the start date for individual participants.

If you are interested in volunteering and would like more information, please contact professionalstandards@barstandardsboard.org.uk