A Bradford MP has urged the government to set aside wasted costs orders against former clients of the collapsed firm SSB Law.

Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, said the large sums being demanded of his constituents by defendant lawyers were ‘simply impossible’ to meet.

These were among the estimated 1,400 clients who instructed Sheffield firm SSB Law to run cavity wall insulation claims on their behalf. The firm went into administration last month. Many clients have come forward to say they are being pursued by lawyers representing the defendant wall insulation companies for thousands of pounds in incurred costs.

In a letter to justice secretary Alex Chalk MP, Hussain urged the government to ensure that all demands for payment and court orders are dropped, although it was not clear by what mechanism he believes this should happen.

The MP also called for an immediate investigation into the circumstances that led to the collapse of SSB Law and the subsequent demand for costs. Clients have reported they were told there was insurance cover for their claims and that they would not have to pay anything under a CFA arrangement. It is understood that there is an ongoing dispute between SSB and its ATE insurers about whether there was indeed cover in place for cavity wall cases.

Hussain also asked Chalk to look into the SRA’s actions in the months leading up to SSB’s collapse and whether it was sufficiently robust in its assessment of the firm.

‘I understand that the SRA was informed by one of SSB Law’s creditors that they were owed large sums accrued over several months and that they were also warned that SSB Law posed a "regulatory risk", only for the SRA’s forensic investigations to find no evidence supporting the need for regulatory action,’ added Hussain.

Imran Hussain MP for Bradford East

Hussain has called for an investigation into the circumstances that led to the collapse of SSB Law

Source: Charlotte Graham/Shutterstock

The Labour MP asked Chalk to give details of discussions between the government, the SRA and others around what he called the ‘failure to recognise SSB Law’s risk of collapse’.

The Gazette has approached the SRA for comment.

SSB Law went into administration owing more than £200m – mostly accounted for through loan agreements with litigation funders, but also including a string of medical reporting agencies, barristers chambers and claims management companies. As at October last year, the company had 42,708 files being handled by around 220 staff from two premises in Sheffield.

Professional negligence specialist David Wingate, from Manchester firm WE Solicitors, said former SSB clients have come to him saying they are losing sleep and worried about their homes being repossessed. ‘There are horrible stories of people whose claims were farmed by people knocking on their doors who don’t have English as a first language or don’t have capacity,’ said Wingate. ‘They thought they were making a perfectly legitimate claim without any liability and this has come as an enormous shock to them.’

The only realistic option for these people is to pursue a professional negligence claim against SSB’s insurers, rather than rely on any payment from the SRA compensation fund, Wingate added.


This article is now closed for comment.