The BSB has now launched our digital comparison tool (DCT) market study. DCTs allow consumers to locate and select service providers, using a range of criteria such as location, ratings and reviews to help with this process. The BSB’s regulatory objectives include protecting and promoting the public interest, improving access to justice, promoting competition in the provision of services, and protecting and promoting the interests of consumers. This market study will help us understand whether and how the DCT market could further these objectives.

What are the benefits of launching the market study?

The market study is a good opportunity for the BSB, barristers and DCTs to better understand how the DCT market could work, by reference to the Bar specifically and by explaining what the benefits and costs are for each party involved. Through this pilot, we will be looking to solve any issues that arise in real time and record them for the purpose of the evaluation.

Who is participating in the market study?

We currently have four DCTs signed up for our market study. The nature of the ratings and reviews, and other services offered, varies between DCTs. You can find out more about the DCTs participating in our market study.

Our market study initially focuses on employment law. However, this focus will not prevent barristers who specialise in other areas of law from joining our market study if they wish. We invite both public access and referral barristers to take part.

How long will the market studyrun?

The market studyis expected to run for at least 12 months.

How can I get involved in the market study?

DCTs – If you would like to take part in our market study please contact us on [email protected].  DCTs who take part in our pilot are asked to agree to our voluntary DCT code of conduct and terms of reference, and to provide data to assist with our evaluation.

Barristers – It’s easy for barristers to take part in our pilot - barristers who join our pilot should continue to ensure they are complying with the BSB Handbook for Barristers. We also ask that they: 

  • Register their interest at [email protected]
  • Consider attending our market study webinar in late October.
  • Sign up with one (or more) of our DCT market study participants.
  • Encourage clients to leave reviews about their service.
  • Engage with reviews left, where possible.
  • Answer a small number of evaluation questions at the start and end of the market study.

Barristers and DCTs can continue to join the market study throughout the 12 months.

Public consumer organisations – We invite consumers who use barristers to rate/review them via our market study’s participating DCTs where possible.

How can I learn more about the market study?

To learn more about our pilot, please watch our webinar, which was held on 20 October 2022. At the webinar delegates had the opportunity to ask questions of panel speakers including:

  • BSB Director of Strategy and Policy Ewen MacLeod;
  • BSB Head of Regulation Policy and Research Rupika Madhura;
  • Legal Services Board Regulatory Policy Manager Robin Geddes;
  • Legal Services Consumer Panel panel member Paul Crook;
  • Trustpilot Head of Partnerships UK Neil Bayton; and
  • Legal Utopia CEO Paresh Kathrani. 
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Digital Comparison Tool (DCT) Webinar

Watch this BSB webinar to learn more about our DCT pilot, which was held on 20 October 2022.

You can also learn more about our pilot by viewing answers to frequently asked questions.

If you are a barrister or a DCT who is interested in participating in the market study, please email us at [email protected].