Personal injury reforms have taken another casualty with a firm posting multi-million pound revenues a decade ago being forced to close. Administrators were called in at the end of last month to handle the affairs of MTA Personal Injury Solicitors LLP, based in Bromley, Kent.
The firm specialised in RTA and medical negligence claims and an agreement has been reached with Recovery First, which allocates cases to other practices, to transfer the work in progress.
Steven Wiseglass, director at Inquesta Corporate Recovery & Insolvency who was appointed administrator, said: ‘There should be no adverse impact on the ongoing cases, as these have been protected as a result of their transfer to other firms. We are currently undertaking statutory duties in relation to the administration.’
The downfall of MTA Personal Injury Solicitors follows a familiar pattern to other businesses working in this sector where profit margins have been severely tightened by reduced fixed fees, the abolition of the recovery of success fees and – this year – the Civil Liability Act stopping the recovery of costs for RTA claims under £5,000.
In the last annual accounts before the reforms, for the year ended 30 June 2012, the firm (then known as MTA Solicitors LLP before a name change in 2016) posted £23.5m turnover and operating profit of more than £2m. The business had net current assets of £13.2m and a staff of more than 300.
The most recently published accounts, covering the year ended 30 June 2019 and with less detail due to the size of the business, show the firm had net assets of just £332,160. It was owed £3.7m but also owed £3.6m to creditors within one year.
Wiseglass confirmed to the Gazette that the remaining seven employees of MTA Personal Injury Solicitors LLP were all made redundant when the firm went into administration.
This year has seen the collapse of firms who became well known in the PI sector in the pre-reform boom. Pure Legal was closed in November with debts of almost £25m after trying to diversify into other areas such as data breach and housing disrepair claims.
Hampson Hughes, based in Liverpool, wound down its operation prior to closing earlier this year, to the point where its previously successful PI department had effectively closed, leaving the firm specialising in clinical negligence claims.
The reforms this year have hit the industry particularly badly, with costs not able to be recovered, and the introduction of tariffs meaning less is available to deduct from any damages.
The landscape is unlikely to get any easier, with fixed costs likely to be extended as early as next year to most claims up to £100,000 and extra pressure on profit margins as a result.
* The firm now called MTA Solicitors LLP is a separate legal entity which is continuing to trade, is not affected by the administration and should not be confused with MTA Personal Injury Solicitors LLP.
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