A Burnley and Pendle law firm – the merger of a number of historic local firms – has gone into administration.
Steele Ford and Newton Solicitors has closed its Burnley, Nelson and Bacup offices and brought in administrators Leonard Curtis from Manchester.
The directors took the decision that there was no long term futureNick Cassidy, criminal solicitor
The Burnley Express believes that Government cuts in the Legal Aid budget had forced the closure on June 18th.
The original Nelson-based Steele Ford and Newton – an offshoot of the historic Steele and Sons firm – merged with Burnley firm JGT in 2012.
The firm dealt primarily with criminal law, family law and personal injury.
Criminal solicitor Nick Cassidy, who was one of the directors, has now moved to Burnley firm Donald Race and Newton.
He said: “The directors took the decision that there was no long term future, chiefly due to cuts in the Legal Aid budget which are affecting small high street firms.
All our clients have been notified. The majority of our criminal law clients will stay with me.”
The cutting of Legal Aid has been a controversial subject in recent months, with solicitors and other legal professionals fearing it will lead to the closure of many high street firms and jeapordise people’s access to lawyers.
Law Society president Andrew Caplen said: “We remain concerned that vulnerable people may not be able to obtain legal representation if they are accused of wrongdoing.
“Without proper legal representation there may be miscarriages of justice.
“Criminal legal aid solicitors are critical for ensuring that anyone accused of a crime has a fair trial.”