In a joint response to a Legal Services Board discussion document on referral fees in December, the two bodies said attempts at regulation had “failed” and the fees should be prohibited.

“Individuals will be represented on the basis of the financial interests of those party to the payment, the details of referral fees will remain unexposed, costs will almost certainly increase, any such increase will be passed on to the public, and the field of providers of legal services may well be reduced,” their statement said.

“All of this is likely to occur without any increase in the quality of representation.”