Claims firm shuts down as effects of PI reform continue

Another personal injury brand has disappeared from the scene as the market continues to contract after years of government-imposed reform.
Claims firm shuts down as effects of PI reform continue

Liverpool based Accident Claims Lawyers Limited was put into administration last week. Court documents show that the company applied in November to begin the insolvency process through accountancy firm Leonard Curtis.

The Accident Claims Lawyers website has been shut down and all recent traces of the firm on social media appear to have disappeared. It is understood that the firm's owners had already intended to wind down operations but that funders pulled the plug early and prompted the sale of work in progress, with 20 staff made redundant.

Accident Claims Lawyers was rebranded from SGI Legal two years ago as part of owner Spirant Group’s strategic plan. The most recent annual accounts for Accident Claims Lawyers Ltd, for the 14 months to 31 December 2021, show the company had net liabilities of around £2.3m.

It had £401 in cash reserves and work in progress worth £2.1m, but creditors were owed £4.4m within a year. The scale of decline since then is shown by the fall in headcount from 110 at the end of 2021.

Directors Simon Gibson, Stephen Murray, Simon Shaw and Michelle Stevenson were all appointed when the company was incorporated in 2020. Each is also a director of SGI Legal and Spirant Group, which continues to operate (as does the Australian entity of Accident Claims Lawyers). Companies House records show that Murray also incorporated – and is the sole of director of – MGS Lawyers at the end of October.

In a statement, the firm said: 'In response to government reform of the PI market, the board took the decision in 2022 to run-off the remaining case files. We have worked closely with Recovery First on the handover of files and we have now entered voluntary administration. Spirant Group is unaffected by this.'

The Spirant Group announced in April last year that it had secured £13.5m of investment to ‘supercharge’ its expansion in the US and Australia. As well as Accident Claims Lawyers UK, it also owns Accident Claims Lawyers Australia, Zeus Tech Solutions, Novus Claims Solutions and InstaMed.

Research published earlier this month showed that an increasing number of law firms are ditching low-value RTA claims as a result of the whiplash reforms and establishment of the online claims portal in 2021.

A survey of 113 personal injury firms by marketing collective First4Lawyers found 53% had given up on that section of the market as they cannot turn a profit on the work. Those that still do low-value RTA largely only do so to capture more valuable cases that fall out of the portal. One third of firms expect the government to carry on squeezing fees and for the consolidation of the market to result in just a handful of volume players

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