The beleaguered European arm of international firm King & Wood Mallesons is no longer able to pay salaries as it moves to appoint administrators for a second time. 

Staff were initially told that salaries would be paid weekly in January but wages for the first week have not appeared in bank accounts.

An internal message from the firm’s managing partner Tim Bednall sent to all staff said the firm’s bankers Barclays would not be approving salary payments.

Separately, this morning at the High Court the firm made a filing to appoint administrators. It first filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators in December last year.

KWM Europe now has 10 working days until it must file for administration, giving the firm’s China arm more time to finalise efforts to retain parts of the business.

A spokesperson for the firm declined to comment beyond confirming that it had filed notice of intent to appoint administrators.

Outside the firm's offices in London's Queen Street Place this afternoon lawyers coming in and out of the building described the 'depressing' scenario to the Gazette

One lawyer bemoaned a lack of communication from those at the top adding: 'No one tells anyone anything.'

'It's been the same for the last few months, we are not told anything definitive and read things in the press. At the moment people are looking around hoping for other opportunities.'

Another lawyer said they would be seeking employment at another firm but that 'the situation is a lot worse for some people than it is for me'.

Another worker for one of the firm's suppliers said their contract had been cancelled.

According to reports this afternoon, AlixPartners has declined to be named administrators due to concerns about funding, with Andrew Hosking of Quantuma set to be appointed instead as administrator of the EUME LLP.