Eminent criminal defence firm to close

Topics: Criminal justice,Law firm & practice management,Legal aid and access to justice

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  • Karen Todner

A high-profile London criminal defence firm is closing its doors next month, its managing director has announced.

Karen Todner (pictured) told her Twitter followers on Friday evening that Kaim Todner, which has two offices in London, would be ‘moving towards controlled and orderly closure’ in March.

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‘Clients and solicitors placed and cared for. New ventures ahead,’ she said.

‘But for now it’s business as usual,’ Todner told the Gazette.

Todner, who qualified in 1987, has been the firm’s MD since it was established in 1990.

Specialising in criminal law including extradition and fraud, Todner represented ‘Pentagon hacker’ Gary McKinnon, a former computer systems administrator with Asperger’s syndrome, who was suffering from depressive illness.

McKinnon faced up to 60 years in a US prison if found guilty of what one US prosecutor called the ‘biggest military computer hack of all time’.

A decade after Todner came to the case, home secretary Theresa May told parliament in October 2012 that McKinnon would not be extradited to the US.

More recently Kaim Todner made headlines for its part in challenging the government’s procurement process for new criminal legal aid contracts.

The firm is part of the Big Firms Group, whose 37 members carry out around 25% of criminal legal aid work.

The firm was a leading member of the Fair Crime Contracts Alliance, set up to challenge the procurement process via judicial review.

Todner told the Gazette: ‘Given recent developments, the firm’s future is not entirely clear but options for a way forward are being considered.’

The judicial review and procurement law challenges had been a ‘huge distraction’ and had a ‘significant effect on the firm on many levels’.

Justice secretary Michael Gove scrapped the government’s controversial new contracting regime last month, citing litigation from unsuccessful bidders as a factor in his decision.

Gove said: ‘My decision is driven in part by the recognition that the litigation will be time-consuming and costly for all parties, whatever the outcome. I do not want my department and the legal aid market to face months, if not years, of continuing uncertainty, and expensive litigation, while it is heard.’

Readers' comments (25)

  • Sad but unsurprising; a brave decision.

    Many high street firms would do well to take note.

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  • Who is next I wonder?

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  • Good!

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  • in what respect may i ask ?

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  • Probably cheaper to close the doors than limp on suffering death by a thousand cuts!

    Also, the PII for crime is low so the run-off shouldn't be too bad.

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  • It is very sad that an iconic firm is closing down. The Govt will achieve its aim of closing firms down. The profession should never have accepted the cuts. We should have stuck together, but the Big Boys smelt a gravy train and thought they would get more richer. On of your numbers have fallen and the rest will follow.And now you see the consequences of back stabbing politics and short sightedness!!!

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  • I agree above.

    When the rest leave, would they please pick up the 30 pieces of silver. I am sure they enjoyed a further £1.00 on Claim 10 from 'Franchising' (whilst they could).

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  • I am concerned at the loss of such a strong fighting firm. The government are seeking to silence lawyers and prevent the public having access to justice, changes in legal aid for family and crime. And now substantial increases in applying for Grants of Probate. Where will it all end and who will fight for the public if its not Todner, Leigh Day and the like.

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  • "....The firm is part of the Big Firms Group, whose 37 members carry out around 25% of criminal legal aid work. .."

    Ah - ha. And so it begins. One or two Criminal Firms left by 2020 (and the fraud (and corruption between state and the verisimilitude of 'Defence' 'Practioners' ) will know no bounds) ....

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  • @Anonymous22 February 2016 05:35 pm:

    "...I am concerned at the loss of such a strong fighting firm. The government are seeking to silence lawyers and prevent the public having access to justice .. who will fight for the public if its not Todner, Leigh Day and the like. .."

    I am not so sure Leigh Day is a good example (nor really Kaim Todner), but Insurers can always deal with it (on their supposed Legal Expenses Insurance 'Policies' (in reality market capture vehicles)...

    What not to like about Clarissa and Algernon straight out of the Prep School Soggy Biscuit Munching Championships doing all Legal Work at 'work stations'?

    Watch this space.

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