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Comparison websites and open data

Comparison websites are increasingly used by consumers to help them choose suppliers for energy, insurance and communications. They are also beginning to emerge in legal services, although our data shows that so far only 2% of respondents have used a comparison website to help them choose a legal service.

The emergence of comparison sites in the legal sector is a positive development. However, in some other sectors, concerns have been raised about a lack of transparency and businesses 'gaming' the sites. To ensure that legal services comparison websites do not fall into the same traps, the Panel developed a set of good practice standards and assessed a selection of sites against these. Our report and the standards can be found below.

The Legal Services Board accepted the Panel's recommendations and asked the Approved Regulators to engage with the report. Since then we have worked with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), and industry to promote a self-regulatory solution. The SRA have endorsed our standards. The websites listed below have carried out a self-assessment and stated that they adhere to the standards. Please note the Panel does not assess or actively monitor whether the websites do adhere to the standards. If you have concerns about a website which has self-assessed as compliant please email us at

Websites which have self-assessed against our standards:

The Panel has also consistently championed greater transparency and access to data. In March 2014 we co-hosted a roundtable with the LSB, where the regulators agreed in principle to release the information in the professional registers. The focus now will be on implementation.

Key documents

Date Title Description
21 June 2016 Letter to the LSB on open data report (pdf, 144kb) Letter to the LSB offering clarity and explanation on the Panel's Open Data report recommendations
25 May 2016 Letter from LSB on open data recommendations (pdf, 274kb) Letter from Sir Michael Pitt responding to the Panel's recommendations in its report on Opening up Data
2 February 2016 Opening up data in legal services (pdf, 644kb) The Panel's response to the commission from the Legal Services Board on information regulators should collect and publish to inform consumer choice
24 March 2015 CMA - Call for information, online reviews and endorsements (pdf, 176kb) Response to the CMA call for information on online reviews and endorsements
20 August 2014 Letter from SRA on open data (pdf, 49kb) Letter from Crispin Passmore on making regulatory data available to comparison websites
9 April 2014 Letter to the regulators on open data (pdf, 205kb) Letter from Chris Kenny and Elisabeth Davies to the regulators on access to data
9 May 2013 Good practice standards for legal comparison websites (pdf, 117kb) Based on our draft standards, but amended slightly after engagement with stakeholders, these standards represent good practice for comparison websites in the legal sector
19 June 2012 Letter responding to the Panel's report on comparison websites (pdf, 681kb) LSB accepts Panel's recommendations on comparison websites
7 February 2012 Comparison websites (pdf, 472kb) The Consumer Panel's report on comparison websites in legal services.
7 February 2012 Comparison websites - Draft Standards (pdf, 114kb) The Consumer Panel's Draft Standards for comparison websites