A total of 30 people have been made redundant following the closure of south-west firm Follett Stock.
In a closure announcement posted on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website yesterday, the regulator said it was satisfied there were grounds for intervention on the basis that the firm had been declared insolvent.
The SRA has intervened into the practices of Martin Pearse and Christopher Lingard at Follett Stock LLP and FSHL Limited.
The announcement added that action was necessary to protect the interests of Follett Stock clients or potential clients.
The firm is based in Truro, Cornwall and at one time had offices in London, Bristol and Exeter. Only the Truro and London offices were still open for business at the time of the intervention.
The intervention means the SRA 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).
David Standish and John Milsom of KPMG were appointed compulsory liquidators on Monday, and they will now seek to investigate the affairs of the firms and determine the assets that can be realised to benefit creditors.
Helen Herniman, SRA director of client protection, said: ‘In cases like these were the firm has become insolvent, we only intervene once all other options have been exhausted. We have had to intervene on this occasion as there was a clear risk to clients’ interests caused by the firm’s financial difficulties.
‘The legal services market is facing a tough economic environment and other firms may find they are in a similar position. We’d urge all those who may be struggling financially to get in touch as soon as possible with either ourselves at the SRA, or other organisations that can offer advice such as their local law society.’
According to London Gazette records, a winding-up petition was issued to the firm in August by HM Revenue & Customs. The petition was heard last month at the Royal Courts of Justice.