So far, this report has set out the significant economic benefits that English law brings to the UK, outside the legal services sector, by serving as an essential infrastructure to facilitate transactions in the economy.
Similarly to other types of infrastructure, English law is likely to suffer from ‘market failure’—i.e. a situation where society as a whole can be made better off if provision is not entirely left to private parties within the market (see Box 5.1 for a more detailed explanation). This problem arises because once a private party makes an effort to promote English law, all English law users— including both the legal services sectors, the businesses they serve, and the wider UK economy—will benefit from that effort without having to pay for it. The problem of those who benefit from resources or services of a communal natureA resource or service of a communal nature is considered a public good if it satisfies two characteristics: non-rivalry (when a good is consumed, it does not reduce the amount available for others), … Continue reading but do not pay for them or under-pay is called the ‘free-rider’ problem.