Report on closure of Staffordshire legal aid firm with the legal aid cuts being given as the reason for closure-one of many to come unfortunately
"05/01/2012 09:56 Cuts force law firm into administrationA LONG-STANDING Stafford law firm has been forced into administration.
Jewels Solicitors, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010, entered administration on Thursday.
The firm was set up by Mark Jewels, who went on to develop partnership firms with former Stafford MP David Kidney and others.
Mr Kidney, a solicitor for 20 years, was in partnership with Mr Jewels for a number of years until 1997. He said: “It was a great legal firm and provided important social support for a number of disadvantaged groups. I am sad that we have lost that service in Stafford.” In 2003 Mr Jewels was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in recognition of his work with disadvantaged children and those who had been abused or neglected.
Administrators Begbies Traynor are now handling the Victoria Road firm, which also had a Cannock office and employed around 20 people. It was dealing with more than 1,000 cases.
Jewels’ principal is now liaising with Begbies Traynor to ensure the cases are transferred appropriately to other firms, in accordance with clients’ wishes, Steve Currie from Begbies Traynor said.
“The reason for administration is primarily because of the cuts in public sector funding for legal aid,” Mr Currie said “It was adversely impacted - 80 per cent of Jewels’ work was legal aid work.” ..............."
Post by Colin Henderson on Jan 15, 2012 11:08:30 GMT
Seems it was also the cash-flow problems due to the LSC's notorious processing delays (in turn caused by the cuts and redundancies started by the previous government) that caused the closure. And in the Gazette this week Mark Jewels predicts that problem will cause others to fold. Here's an extract:
"Family legal aid accounted for 80% of Jewels’ work and it had been awarded a contract in the latest tender round. The firm also did conveyancing and probate.
Jewels told the Gazette that cashflow problems caused by a delay in payments received from the LSC and a bank’s unwillingness to extend its loan facility had led to closure. ‘We are owed around £250,000, mostly by the LSC. It’s the LSC’s slowness in paying that has led to the closure,’ he said.
At the time of closure, the firm had more than 1,000 cases open. Jewels said that some fee-earners have found new jobs and taken their cases with them, while other cases are being dispersed to local firms.
In 2003 Jewels was named family lawyer of the year by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group in recognition of his work dealing with complex children cases. Carol Storer, the LAPG’s director, said: ‘To lose a large firm who work to high standards is desperately sad for the clients, for the people in that area and for the dedicated members of that firm who will no longer provide the service.’"