Personal injury lawyer Peter Garsden’s firm Abney Garsden has been acquired by claimant firm Simpson Millar, effective from today.

The acquisition takes one of QualitySolicitors’ most visible members out of the network and into a law firm owned by listed company Fairpoint plc.

Garsden’s claims against the likes of Manchester children’s homes transformed the law around abuse claims from 1985 onwards, recognised by the 2015 Law Society excellence award for private practice.

Garsden (pictured) told Gazette that the plan to join a larger firm ‘started when the charming Lord Justice Jackson brought in his new rules and turned the personal injury market upside down’. In the search for a larger firm to join Garsden, the sole equity partner said he ‘kissed a lot of frogs’.

The negative change in the economics of running personal injury claims coincided with greater competition, Garsden added: ‘General personal injury lawyers were suddenly very interested in previously niche areas. That coincided with abuse getting a lot of media attention.’

Garsden added ‘most weren’t very interested in abuse work [in the past]. We used to be referred [work]. That’s no longer to case’.

‘We have to compete with the likes of Slater and Gordon – a huge organisation,’ Garsden added.

No jobs will be lost as a result of the Simpson Millar acquisition, Garsden said. He described the firm as being in ‘a healthy and vibrant place’, with 800 abuse files currently open. He aims to grow the abuse practice from 20 staff to its previous peak size of 40.