The Legal Aid Agency revealed today that it has referred concerns about London firm Blavo & Co to the Metropolitan Police after terminating all legal aid contracts with the firm.
Blavo, one of the UK’s largest providers of mental health legal services, announced yesterday that it was restructuring and consulting on redundancies, blaming cutbacks in legal aid.
A spokesperson for the LAA told the Gazette that the agency had ‘identified significant concerns about claims from this firm, and, as a consequence, has stopped payments’.
The spokesperson said: ‘We have now terminated all legal aid contracts with them and referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police.’
Blavo & Co senior and managing partner John Blavo told the Gazette: ‘I can confirm that we are in dispute with the LAA.
'It would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage although we will fully co-operate with any enquiries if required to do so.’
The firm employs more than 240 staff across 18 offices in cities including Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. Its head office (pictured) is in London.
In a statement to the Gazette yesterday, Blavo said: ‘In line with many legal firms, we have revenue streams which are derived from legal aid, enabling us to provide high-quality legal advice to often vulnerable members of society with mental health issues.
‘However, the knock-on effects of legal aid cutbacks have severely impacted upon the number of cases we are allowed to be paid for in this particular area.
‘We have also considered productivity after a recent staff performance review.’
Blavo said he had no choice ‘other than to restructure the firm’.
All staff at Blavo & Co have been informed of potential redundancies across all departments and offices, Blavo said in yesterday’s statement.