Leonard Curtis oversees solicitors administration

20 February 2019 Consultancy.uk

26 jobs have been lost, as Just Costs Solicitors collapsed into administration at the end of January. Insolvency experts from Leonard Curtis Rescue & Recovery have been appointed to oversee the firm’s liquidation.

Manchester-based Just Costs Solicitors has entered administration at the end of January, with 26 staff being made redundant. This is the second administration in two years the firm has faced, with its current incarnation having been created in 2017 through a pre-pack administration deal to acquire the assets of predecessor firm Just Costs Limited. The new venture, led by solicitors Paul Shenton, Jodi Booth and Adam Quinn, rescued 46 jobs and was reported to have cleared away historical financial liabilities attributed to the previous firm. Quinn and Booth had both ceased to be Directors of Just Costs Solicitors as of January. 

However, just 18 months later, administrators have moved in again to manage the costs firm, which has strong links to the personal injury sector. The UK’s personal injury market has been lucrative fare for legal startups over the past two decades; however, as a sector it has struggled in recent years, with declining numbers of claims in a number of segments – including the motor liability and employer liability arenas in particular – while competition has continued to spike upwards. With more firms competing for a market which is stagnating, some legal firms have faced lean times.

Leonard Curtis oversees solicitors administration

Regulatory and financial pressures have also taken a toll on the sector, and Just Costs Solicitors suffered from cash-flow issues to boot. Just Costs Solicitors worked with at least one other firm which collapsed in 2018, which further contributed to this, according to the Law Society Gazette. The costs firm was owed almost £33,000 and is unlikely to receive any distribution, according to a creditors’ report published in November.

A sale of Just Costs Solicitors was therefore attempted, with the for-sale business including leasehold offices in the north west and London, as well as practices in costs drafting relating to commercial litigation, clinical negligence and personal injury. The asset then had 33 staff, was working on 1,100 live cases for 210 clients, and had work in progress worth around £850,000. 

No sale was made, however, and insolvency specialist Leonard Curtis Rescue & Recovery was subsequently installed to oversee the group’s winding down. Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group operates from 17 locations across the UK, and provides clients with strategic advice to enable them to retain control of their business, as well as key stakeholders and professionals involved with those dealing with debt and financial problems. Julien Irving and Andrew Poxon of the firm have been jointly appointed as administrators.

Irving remarked, “Whilst the number of redundancies was unavoidable, we are pleased to say that we have ensured that approximately 1,000 client matters were seamlessly transferred to regulated practices and therefore avoided SRA intervention.”

All client matters have been transferred to the registered practices of Clear Law Solicitors, Burcher Jennings, Civil & Commercial Costs Lawyers Limited, KWLC Legal Costs Limited, Simpson Sissons & Brooke LLP and Partners in Costs Limited.

Related: Big Four eye potential $30 billion boost via legal market expansion.


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