Halifax banking on Legal Services Bill

The bandwagon is gathering momentum. While international law firms may be scratching their heads over their chances of actually taking advantage of the legal services reforms sweeping the UK (see page 1), other organisations are cheerfully moving on.

At the weekend Halifax announced it was launching its own legal services advice service, Halifax Legal Solutions. For a modest fee the bank’s customers will have access to a team offering advice on such matters as will preparation, ID theft and conveyancing.

For the time being Halifax will outsource the advice-giving to providers including HammondsDirect, the conveyancing practice formerly owned by Hammonds. When the Legal Services Bill is passed, it and other organisations, such as Co-operative Legal Services, will be able to give that advice in-house.

The move has been greeted with anxiety by the Law Society, which issued a warning to clients that they “must see their solicitor for face-to-face advice in more complex and sensitive cases”. Whether that message reaches the ‘man on the street’ is yet to be seen.