Blavo & Co appears to have been put up for sale just days after the Legal Aid Agency referred concerns over the London-headquartered firm to the Metropolitan Police after terminating all its contracts.
Accountancy firm Armstrong Watson issued an email this afternoon advertising the sale of a solicitor’s practice, with a closing date of 12 October for indicative offers.
The accountancy firm would not reveal the name of the practice to the Gazette. However details in the email state that the firm in question is the UK’s leading mental health practice, and has a turnover of £11.1m for the year ended 31 March 2014 with after-tax profit of £1.2m. These financial details align precisely with those disclosed in Blavo & Co’s statutory accounts filed at Companies House.
Armstrong Watson says the unnamed firm has over 3,500 live case files – 85% legal aid and 15% private sector. The advertisement adds that the firm has 16 offices across the UK with over 200 staff specialising in criminal law, family, immigration, housing, employment, welfare, personal injury and commercial and business law.
Last week Blavo & Co announced it was restructuring and consulting on redundancies, blaming cutbacks in legal aid.
However on Friday a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Agency said it had ‘identified significant concerns about claims from this firm, and, as a consequence, has stopped payments’.
The spokesperson said it had terminated all legal aid contracts with the firm and referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police.
According to Armstrong Watson’s email this afternoon, assets available for sale include goodwill, business name, intellectual property, website, fixed assets and work-in-progress.
The email states that indicative offers must be made by 5pm on Monday 12 October. Interested parties will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
In a statement tonight, Blavo & Co senior and managing partner John Blavo said: 'We are not in a position to confirm or deny that the firm is for sale at this stage.’
Last week Blavo confirmed that the firm was in dispute with the agency and said it would fully cooperate with any enquiries if required to do so.
The Gazette has approached the Legal Aid Agency for comment on this latest development.