The Solicitors Regulation Authority has revealed it has closed down London-headquartered firm Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited.
The SRA said that it had intervened into the firm Blavo & Co and the practice of sole director John Blavo. The practising certificate of John Blavo has been automatically suspended, so he cannot practise as a solicitor.
The firm was two weeks ago referred to the Metropolitan Police by the Legal Aid Agency.
Three days later, the firm appeared to have been put up for sale. In a statement to the Gazette, John Blavo said at the time the firm was 'not in a position to confirm or deny that the firm was for sale at this stage’.
The SRA today said the reasons for intervention are:
- There is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of a manager or employee of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited ;
- There is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of John Blavo in connection with his practice ;
- To protect the interests of clients of Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited .
The announcement continued: 'We will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm (including clients’ papers), and take possession of all money held by the firm (including clients’ money). The SRA is not responsible towards employees or trade creditors of firms that we have intervened in.'
The SRA has appointed agents to deal with all matters currently held by Blavo & Co Solicitors Limited. The agents will assess all ongoing matters and deal with those of greatest need first. The SRA’s archive team will take control of all documents held by the firm.
The SRA will now complete its investigation and decide on the appropriate course of action. There is no set timescale for how long this work will take as it will depend on several factors, including the complexity of the issues.
Solicitors have the right to challenge intervention into their firm.
John Blavo said in a statement: ‘The firm has been advised, by the SRA, that it wishes to intervene. We have not been provided with an opportunity to make representations. We are currently taking legal advice and do not wish to make any further comments at this stage. ‘