One of Birmingham’s biggest barristers’ chambers has been caught up in the financial fallout from the collapse of Manchester law firm Halliwells.
No5 Chambers features on the list of creditors scattered around the country left out of pocket by the high-profile administration of Halliwells in June.
No5, which has over 200 barristers and offices in Birmingham, London and Bristol, is owed more than £10,000 according to a report released by Halliwells’ joint administrators at BDO Dermot Power and Shay Bannon.
A total of £14.1 million is owed to the North West firm’s hundreds of unsecured creditors, with HM Revenue & Customs identified as having the biggest claim – £4.3 million.
A clutch of other Midland names also feature on the creditors list, including Morgan Finch & Partners in Stoke-on-Trent, owed £4,920, as well as several expert witnesses from the region.
Halliwells’ secured creditor Royal Bank of Scotland is owed around £17.7 million, the report said, but it added the administrators did not expect the bank would be repaid in full.
Other unsecured creditors include Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, both owed more than £100,000 and the College of Law, which is owed £448,293.
The North West law firm collapsed in June amid cashflow difficulties, with administrators highlighting “substantial property obligations” together with a slowdown in business as the reasons behind its decline.
In 2006 Halliwells acquired James Chapman & Co, a Manchester law firm specialising in insurance, a move which prompted it to expand its office space.
But things began to go wrong shortly afterwards when Halliwells was hit by a contraction in its key markets, according to the administrators report.
Following the appointment of BDO, Birmingham law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing – which is this week celebrating taking the coveted Company of the Year title at the Birmingham Post Business Awards – stepped in to buy out 40 partners from the collapsed firm.
HBJ was propelled into the top 50 law outfits in the country by the acquisition, and the deal sees the former Halliwells partners working from an office in Manchester under the HBJ Gateley Wareing name.
In their report, the administrators said they expected their transfer to HBJ to go ahead on September 25.
The move brought a total of 200 new fee-earners into the firm, which had been looking to set up a presence in Manchester for some time.
Other parts of the collapsed firm have been bought by Liverpool-based Hill Dickinson, Kennedy’s Law and BLG Claims.