Supermarkets are set to open consumer legal services in England and Wales due to a new change in law. The government’s new Legal Services Act will potentially give more choice and value for the public, many of whom might not be able to afford a solicitor. In addition, law firms will gain investment and will be able to explore a new market, helping the economy.
Critics of the plan have said it would mean the quality of advice is lower, as people would pay less. However, those who are already struggling might find it useful. According to the government, the move would mean economic growth was encouraged for the law industry and the UK would become known for having a world-class legal services industry.
“Our legal services are already rated among the best in the world, used by millions of people around the globe as well as in the UK, and these changes will set them up to move to new heights. They will enable firms to set up multi-disciplinary practices and provide opportunities for growth,” said Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.
Accessible Legal Services
The new move would mean that customers would discover that legal services can be accessible and can help. Competition would be encouraged and services would need to become efficient in order to attract the best customers, looking for value for money. Hundreds of years have passed with the legal industry restricted in the management, ownership, and financing of companies, which until now had been owned either only through lawyers or partnerships.
Critics have called the move “Tesco Law” and when it was first proposed in 2009, the move had been condemned by lawyers, including a coalition made up of nearly 100 companies. They criticized the law, saying it could hurt good quality, local legal advice by industrializing it and making it into a consumer product.
However, those families who are struggling to make ends meet and may need legal help they cannot afford could use the services, especially if their cases cannot be helped by free services such as citizens advice, which cannot help in each case and can only give advice rather than taking legal action.