Midlands firm Hacking Ashton LLP, which revealed last month it was shutting down, has gone into liquidation following a creditors’ meeting, administrators said today.

The firm, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, but with branches across the region, was also known by its trading styles, Bailey Wain and Curzon, Wilkins and Thompson, Glandfield & Cruddas and Crick & Mardling.

It was one of the first to be licensed as an alternative business structure by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It is now being dealt with by liquidators Matt Ingram and John Whitfield from the Birmingham office Duff & Phelps Ltd.

At the meeting held on Friday, creditors heard how declining fee income had led to losses, which in turn had resulted in the practice having insufficient cash to pay its professional indemnity insurance premium. 

Efforts to find a buyer had failed, Ingram said. 'Despite a good level of initial interest, strict legal profession rules can lead to a purchaser being deemed to be the ”successor practice" which in certain circumstances leads to serious risks for the acquiring party. In this case, evidently, those risks have been detrimental to securing a going concern outcome, which has resulted in the meeting of creditors to place the partnership into liquidation.'

Clive Woolliscroft, former managing partner, said: 'The practice stopped taking on new matters at the end of September and since then our staff have been fantastic in trying to ensure that live files were transferred in an orderly manner, despite knowing that they were likely to lose their jobs in the very near future. This is testament to their loyalty to the firm and its clients and I am sincerely thankful to them for such incredible commitment.'

He said that the SRA had been kept informed and intervention had not been necessary.