Yorkshire firm Walker Morris is to close its entire personal injury department with 48 people at risk of redundancy.

In a statement released today, the firm said it had taken the decision as a result of the Jackson reforms and ‘continuing turmoil’ in the personal injury market. A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed 48 people are affected, including four solicitors, and consultation has already begun with them.

Walker Morris is the latest casualty of widespread financial pressures in the PI sector, with Co-operative Legal Services yesterday notifying staff of plans to halve its personal injury payroll.

The Walker Morris statement said the firm had sought in the past year to refocus its PI business by investing in a rebrand and what it described as a ‘direct to market’ approach under the brand Distinctly Legal. 

But the changes had not worked and the firm acknowledged the shift to a more process and volume-driven approach ‘does not fit’ with its long-term strategy.

Ian Gilbert, managing partner, stated: ‘Despite having a very capable and committed team within Distinctly Legal, unfortunately the significant structural changes which have occurred in the PI market recently and those changes which we believe will occur in the future, have led us, regrettably, to conclude that this is not a market in which Walker Morris can differentiate itself as well as building a strong recognisable brand. 

‘We have therefore decided to withdraw from the PI market and focus on our successful core business.’