Criminal defence giant Cartwright King is expanding into the north-west for the first time after announcing a merger with national crime practice Garstangs Burrows Bussin this morning.

The deal, which comes into effect on 1 July, will see Cartwright King secure a presence in Manchester and Bolton as well as open an additional London office in Chancery Lane.

Garstangs Burrows Bussin was formed in 2012 as a result of a merger between London and Bolton firm Garstangs, which specialised in criminal fraud, general crime and commercial services, and Manchester business crime practice Burrows Bussin.

Cartwright King’s managing director Rupert Hawke (pictured) said the merger with Garstangs Burrows Bussin ‘represents a key development in Cartwright King’s continuing expansion plans.

‘We are always looking for opportunities anywhere in the country and welcome enquiries, especially where we are not currently active.’ 

Both firms do criminal legal aid work. Cartwright King would not comment on whether it applied for the government’s new duty contracts for criminal legal aid in the north-west, but said the newly merged firm hopes to do criminal legal aid work there.

With the addition of Garstangs Burrows Bussin directors Mike Garstang, Richard Cornthwaite and Anthony Harris, along with their 20 staff, Cartwright King will have more than 250 employees across 17 offices in Manchester, Bolton, Reading, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Northampton, London, Birmingham, Newcastle Gateshead, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Milton Keynes.

Cartwright King will also venture into the new areas of commercial and civil litigation as a result of its latest deal.

In December Cartwright King claimed it would become one of the largest criminal defence firms in the country after announcing a merger with southern England firm The First Law Partnership in order to bid for the new duty provider contracts which are due to commence on 11 January 2016.

As well as absorbing the Bastian Lloyd Morris criminal defence team in Milton Keynes, the firm also established what it claimed to be the first ‘in-house’ barristers’ chambers.