THE Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has shut down the embattled law firm Axiom Ince with immediate effect, the regulator said on Tuesday (3).
Axiom’s managing director Pragnesh Modhwadia was suspended in August on the suspicion of “dishonesty” after a £64 million hole had been detected in the firm’s client account.
Its two other partners – Shyam Mistry and Idnan Liaqat were also suspended for their alleged failure to comply with statutory rules. Last week, the Met Police opened an investigation into the firm following a referral from the regulator.
“We have intervened into Axiom Ince at various addresses… to protect the interests of clients and former clients of the firm,” the SRA said in a statement.
“We will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm, and take possession of all money held by the firm (including clients’ money). We are not responsible towards employees or trade creditors of firms that we have intervened in.”
The regulator has appointed agents or other solicitor firms to deal with all matters currently held by Axiom Ince.
“The agents will assess all ongoing matters and deal with those of greatest need first”, the SRA said, adding that its archive team would take control of all documents relating to closed matters held by Axiom.
It removed files from 14 offices including those in Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, London and Manchester.
The SRA told Axiom’s former staff that the intervening agents’ role was solely focused on the protection of clients and they would not deal with issues relating to employment.
It was reported on Monday (2) that Axiom had applied to call in administrators amid the exodus of its employees and partners.
Its ability to continue as a going concern had been clouded over the weekend as its insurance cover had expired.