The owner of London criminal legal aid firm Mackesys today denied it had shut and said its website - which announced the closure two days ago - had been hacked.
A spokesman for Geoff Wordsworth, sole proprietor of the 40-year-old business, said the firm is in the process of an ‘orderly restructuring’.
He confirmed ‘most’ of the staff had been made redundant but denied a claim made in the statement, released on Wednesday, that all employees were let go.
The spokesman explained that the firm regretted that an ‘unauthorised individual posted inaccurate information’. The statement has now been taken down.
In a new statement, Wordsworth’s spokesman said it was ‘no surprise’ that with continuing cuts to legal aid fees, coupled with reduced numbers of people appearing before the courts, a criminal legal aid law firm should eventually find it uneconomic to continue trading.
He added: ‘At the point when that stage is reached, it is important to take immediate and responsible action, and, acting on expert and experienced advice that is what Mackesys as a firm has done. The staff were given redundancy notices at a time when it was still possible to pay them up to date.
‘The firm itself has not closed but is in the process of an orderly restructuring to protect the clients, all active files and the legal aid fund.’
He added that the firm is working closely with both the Legal Aid Agency and the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is under proper professional supervision while this work is underway. Insolvency specialist Quantuma is working with Mackesys, as outlined in the original statement.
The firm is expected to make a further announcement on its future next week.