On 31st January 2021, the Law Society of Scotland will bring into effect its Price Transparency Guidance in a bid to promote price transparency between law firms and consumers. It does not apply to firms that offer solely legal aid work, or transactions with businesses. Its purpose is to help consumers understand the cost of legal advice and services.
Law firms will be encouraged to provide price information when the consumer is enquiring about prices. These should be available upfront e.g. on the firm’s website ‘in a prominent location which is clearly signposted’. Further, price information should be available without the consumer having to supply their name or contact details. Prices should be shown as VAT inclusive and state the rate of VAT applied.
The prices published are not intended to be a binding quote, rather a typical price. It should be made clear that the final price will depend on the specific circumstances of the consumer’s case.
The Law Society have advised that the price information should include:-
- details of the services included;
- details of any services that a consumer may reasonably expect to be included, given the nature of the work, but which are not, in fact, included;
- where hourly chargeable rates are applied, information about the level(s) of fee earner(s) who will undertake different parts of the work;
- where you publish a range of prices, the basis of your charges, and the types of factors which will determine the final price;
- a description of any likely outlay and its likely cost – or the method by which such cost is calculated;
- whether any fees or outlays attract VAT – and how this is calculated.