CMA launches draft guidance for online divorce

The CMA has today opened a consultation on draft guidance for unregulated businesses which provide will writing, online divorce, and pre-paid probate services in the UK.

The draft guidance is intended to help providers of these services to better understand, and comply with, consumer protection law. The CMA is now seeking views from businesses in the sector, consumer agencies, trade bodies, and other interested parties.

In July 2023 the CMA began an investigation into will-writing, online divorce, and pre-paid probate services, over concerns that all providers may not be complying with consumer law and consumers might not be getting a fair deal. As part of this investigation, the CMA gathered feedback and information from businesses, consumers, and stakeholders, and decided that guidance would be beneficial.

As a first step, the CMA has produced draft guidance for consultation. The CMA would value a range of responses to its consultation to help ensure the final compliance guidance is as useful as possible. Subject to the responses, the CMA intends to issue final guidance later in the year.

Following this, the CMA intends to conduct a review to assess compliance levels across the three sectors. If the review shows that concerns remain, the CMA will consider whether enforcement action is necessary to protect consumers. Law Society of England and Wales president Nick Emmerson said:

“We welcome this consultation, as it investigates the potential risk consumers face from using unregulated services to write their wills. We share the concerns raised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about possible breaches of consumer protection law such as misleading advertising, pressure selling and coercion of vulnerable customers.”

Stakeholders are encouraged to review the set of questions about the draft guidance and send written submissions via email to: The consultation will close at 5pm on 13th June 2024.

More information regarding the consultation and the draft compliance guidance document under consultation, can be found on the ULS consultation page.

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