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Truro Solicitors Forced to Shut Down by Regulator
7:03am 7th November 2013
A Cornish firm of solicitors has been closed down.
The watchdog says it had to step in to protect clients of Follett Stock in Truro.
The firm had already been facing a winding up order by the taxman.
Now the Solicitors Regulation Authority says it is satisfield what it calls a "relevant insolvency event had occured."
The closure is with immediate effect but the SRA said it was not responsible for employees or trade creditors of the firm.
Documents and money are being seized from the firm's offices at Threemilestone, Exeter, Bristol and London.
In a statement the SRA said: "An intervention was necessary to exercise the powers of intervention in order to protect the interests of clients (or former or potential clients), or the interests of the beneficiaries of any trust of which Mr [Martin] Pearse, Mr [Chris] Lingard, Follett Stock LLP and FSHL Limited are or were a trustee
"We will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm (including clients' papers), and take possession of all money held by the firm (including clients' money).
"The SRA has appointed an agent to deal with all matters currently held by Follett Stock. The agent will assess all ongoing matters and deal with those of greatest urgency first. All clients with ongoing matters will be contacted shortly by the SRA or the agent. The SRA's archive team will take control of all archived documents and files held by the firm."
Helen Herniman, Director of Client Protection, said: "In cases like these were the firm has become insolvent, we only intervene once all other options have been exhausted. We have had to intervene on this occasion as there was a clear risk to clients' interests caused by the firm's financial difficulties.
"The legal services market is facing a tough economic environment and other firms may find they are in a similar position. We'd urge all those who may be struggling financially to get in touch as soon as possible with either ourselves at the SRA, or other organisations that can offer advice such as their local law society."
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