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Cymraeg

Cardiff Law Professor to Champion Consumers of Legal Services

22 October 2010

Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law at Cardiff University, has been appointed to an expert advisory group to help ensure legal services meet consumer needs.

The expert advisory group will advise the Legal Services Consumer Panel on the creation of its Consumer Welfare Index. The index is expected to form the basis of an annual "consumer health check" to see whether the market delivers good, affordable and accessible legal services.

Professor Moorhead said: "The legal services market is about to change dramatically. Those changes are designed to lower cost and improve choice but they also need to ensure quality of legal services. I am delighted to be part of the group advising the Panel on how to ensure the consumer interests is at the heart of these reforms."

Legal service reforms have removed complaints processes from the legal profession and will soon open up the market by allowing non-lawyers to invest-in, own and run legal service providers. As a result lawyers are likely to face much stiffer competition. Alternative providers are poised to enter the market alongside ‘compare the market’ style referral sites which will put lawyer costs under greater scrutiny but also seek to improve their quality. A key issue will be whether this genuinely increases quality without damaging access to justice.

Professor Moorhead added: "It’s an exciting time. The traditional ways of lawyers are likely to be challenged by new practices from well-resourced, consumer-focused businesses with brands to promote and protect. We will see very different approaches to accessing and providing legal services. However, we need to ensure that this drive for profit does not compromise the interests of clients, be they individuals or small businesses."

-End-

Notes to editors

1) The group, made up of senior figures with expertise in performance measurement and research, is to assist the panel in developing a set of indicators.

• Legal Services Consumer Panel member Elisabeth Davies (Chair):
• Jeremy Coyle, who before retirement ran for many years a market research and consultancy business, working mostly in the financial services and IT sectors;
• Professor Richard Moorhead, deputy head and director of teaching and learning quality at Cardiff Law School, as well as a member of the Civil Justice Council. His research interests cover legal services, the legal profession and access to justice;
• Roger Taylor, a former journalist and co-founder of Dr Foster in 2000, a healthcare information service.
• David Walker, a journalist and author with particular interest in public management and social research. He is a member of the council of the Economic and Social Research Council.

2) Cardiff Law School is at the forefront of vocational legal education in Britain, it being one of only seven approved institutions in Britain to offer both solicitor training, through the Legal Practice Course, and barrister training, through the Bar Vocational Course. The School pioneered integrated law and language degree schemes in the 1980s.

The facilities of the School’s library have been assessed as "outstanding" by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The library has over 75,000 volumes, over 300 journals and law reports and a stock expenditure in excess of £200,000 per annum (well over twice the median for UK Law Schools). This represents one of the largest collections of law books outside Oxford, Cambridge and London. The School is also the founder and editor of The Journal of Law and Society, which is recognised as the most prestigious English language journal dealing with the operation of law in society.

Visit the Law School website at: www.law.cardiff.ac.uk

The Centre for Health and Social Care Law exists to promote research in the fields of Health and Social Care law. Its activities are carried out in relation to the theory and practice of substantive law concerning Health and Social Care Law, the focus being principally upon the Legal aspects of medical practice, law and psychiatry, community care law, and the impact of human rights and equality law on disabled and other socially excluded peoples.

3) Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities. Visit the University website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk

Contact

Professor Richard Moorhead

Cardiff Law School

Email: moorheadr@cf.ac.uk

Tel: 07802 414 612

Georgina Thomson

Marketing and Communications Officer, Cardiff Law School

Email: thomsong1@cf.ac.uk

Tel: 029 2087 5465