Controversial Birmingham and London firm Public Interest Lawyers is to close, according to press reports this morning.

The firm, founded by Phil Shiner in 1999, is one of two under investigation for its activities in mounting claims against UK service personnel over alleged atrocities in Iraq. 

The Daily Mail reported this morning that in a document submitted to the High Court this month it asked judges to make an order that it had ceased to act for 187 Iraqi claimants because of its 'permanent closure'. The Gazette has approached Public Interest Lawyers for comment. 

At the beginning of this month, the Legal Aid Agency announced it had terminated its contract with Public Interest Lawyers, saying the firm had breached contractual requirements.

The Mail reported the closure as a 'victory', accusing Shiner of 'relentlessly hounding' British troops.

It quotes the defence secretary, Michael Fallon as saying: 'This is the right outcome for our armed forces. For too long, we've seen our legal system abused to impugn them falsely. We are now seeing progress and we will be announcing further measures to stamp out this practice.'

'We made a manifesto commitment to addressing these types of spurious claims that companies like PIL are pursuing,' a spokesman for the prime minister told the Guardian. 'The closure of PIL shows that we are making progress on that, tackling these types of firms head-on to make sure we get the right outcome for our armed forces who show such bravery in the most difficult of circumstances.'

The spokesman said ministers are looking at measures to prevent firms making bogus claims, including strengthening the penalties for those who abuse the system.