A Midlands practice which faced multi-million-pound claims from disgruntled property investors has been closed and sold. Northampton firm Borneo Martell Turner Coulston LLP has purchased the current client base of closed neighbours Scott Fowler – currently around 1,000 clients – and transferred all staff.
The deal was agreed through a negotiated pre-pack administration, facilitated by Scott Fowler’s administrators Charles Turner and Kevin Murphy from restructuring and insolvency firm CVR Global. National firm Ashfords LLP provided legal support.
CVR Global said administrators and Scott Fowler partners had conducted a discreet marketing campaign to find potential interested parties. The sale was made more challenging by the lockdown, which forced negotiations to be conducted remotely.
Scott Fowler had traded for more than 50 years and provided advice to both businesses and individuals on personal purchases, transaction and commercial deals. It also practised in general commercial, litigation and private client work.
It was named in a costs judgment in 2018 as being pursued for 166 claims by investors who had agreed to put deposits down on a long-leasehold interest in units of hotel and/or student accommodation being built in seven different locations. These developments were never built and it was alleged that Scott Fowler and one other firm, who both acted for the claimants, were in breach of their duties and liable for the claimants’ losses. The value of claims against Scott Fowler was estimated at £4.363m; some claims were subsequently settled but the outcome of the rest is unknown.
Turner said: ‘Unfortunately, Scott Fowler LLP encountered financial difficulties due to historical financial claims against the firm, which meant the business could no longer continue to trade.
‘I’m especially pleased to be able to see a healthy number of jobs saved, and I am confident the Scott Fowler LLP client base will help enable Borneo Martell Turner Coulston LLP to go from strength-to-strength.’