Co-op's legal services business has continued its recovery from a shaky start as a pioneer alternative business structure by reporting a 165% growth in profits last year. In results announced today for the year ending 4 January 2020, Co-op Legal Services made pre-tax profits of £6.1m on a turnover of £40.1m. The previous year's figures were £2.3m and £34.9m respectively. 

Co-op’s performance as a legal services provider has been closely scrutinised since it emerged in 2012 as one of the first three applicants to be authorised as ABS under the Legal Services Act, a move at the time seen as heralding an era of 'Tesco law'. 

In the event the venture proved over-ambitious and was rationalised after losses in its first few years. Today's results suggest its focus on probate and estate planning is paying off, with both revenue and profit growing faster than the group as a whole. 

Commenting on the results, Caoilionn Hurley, managing director of Co-op Legal Services said: 'We’ve seen a significant increase in sales across our estate planning, probate and family practice areas, which is evidenced by our strong underlying growth in revenue and profit.

'Furthermore, our share of the probate market has increased year on year, further cementing our position as leader in the UK market.

'We’ve taken a major step forward as a business in 2019 and are well placed to deal with the challenges presented by the personal injury small claims reforms. I look forward to continuing to build on this success in 2020.'

The results - based on trading well before the coronavirus crisis - also show declining revenue in the Co-op's funeral business, attributed to lower-cost funerals and lower death rates.