News Litigation UK Business Leadership Law firms Halliwells’ client money fiasco haunts new owners By The Lawyer 29 May 2011 00:00 17 December 2015 14:59 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer YMCA 31 May 2011 at 10:28 So THATS why Barlows made up so many partners this year!! Reply Link Anonymous 31 May 2011 at 13:09 Will ex-Halliwells partners actually sell their holiday homes and pay some bills at last? the circus goes on…!!!! ha. ha Reply Link Anonymous 31 May 2011 at 17:04 I was under the impression (from reading The Lawyer, I might add) that the successor firms had “ring fenced” the old Halliwells elements in seperate entities (or at least BLG and Gateley had). Presumably then these liabilities are limited to the former Halliwells Partners rather than to the successor firms in general? Could The Lawyer shed some light on this? Reply Link Anonymous 31 May 2011 at 18:49 looks like Austin will have to sell one of his jags…. Reply Link Anonymous 31 May 2011 at 18:57 So the SRA seems to finally be doing something about this shambles nearly a year since it occurred… Reply Link Anonymous 1 June 2011 at 16:07 Re Anon @ 5:04pm If the SRA actually do something then they’ll strike off the partners who ran Halliwells using client money as working capital. That will hurt the successor businesses more than the loss of the c. £500k in issue. It seems a bit rich that HBJ is trying to claim the ‘black hole’ from the administrators (“ongoing contractual discussions”) when the people at the heart of HBJ Manchester were in charge of Halliwells at the time the hole was created! Reply Link Anonymous 2 June 2011 at 10:58 Halliwells used client money to pay humungeous Partners’ cars costs, running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Has the return to “Ford Fiestas” humbled any of them…. Reply Link foolhardy 2 June 2011 at 16:56 Didn’t they do any due diligence? Reply Link Anonymous 2 June 2011 at 18:00 ref Foolhardy Of course not. One of the three deals was done in less than 10 days from 1st phone call to sign off. No due diligence was done. The two firms are “polar opposites” by way of culture. Its a farce, a tragic consequence of greed and desperation. Its also text book case study for “change management – how not to do it”. Reply Link Teflon 2 June 2011 at 21:26 The firm was not properly managed. It is obvious that it was not properly managed. Look at what they did. They took £17M out by way of reverse premium on the Spinningfields property and the firm crashed into administration under the weight of debt created by their actions. Ian Austin and Alec Craig were the managing and senior partners in control of the firm and they should be called to account. Reply Link Disgusted 2 June 2011 at 21:29 If the SRA had been dealing with a 4 man firm from Bradford then people would have been struck off by now. Double standards at work. The Halliwells partners ought to be the ones paying back the money rather than the successor firms. It was the Halliwells partners who allowed these things to go on whilst they were at Halliwells and before they moved on to the successor firms. Reply Link In Austin we trust 3 June 2011 at 07:58 Is Austin still chair of the Salford university audit committee? Lol He doesn’t appear to be head of litigation at Heatons anymore. What is the SRA going to do with him. On his own admission he was there until the end, working his socks off. An admission which represents a characteristic own goal on his part. Reply Link Anonymous 3 June 2011 at 10:22 In relation to the comment from “Disgusted”, I could not agree more. As a sole practitioner, who used to work in a very large law firm, I have seen the SRA work from both angles. There can be no doubt that the SRA over-regulates small firms and under-regulates big firms. It is a disgrace. Goodness knows how the SRA will cope with the new “Outcomes-focused regulation” coming in in October 2011. If they already run scared of applying their own rule book to large firms, what are they going to do in an even more subjective world? Reply Link Anonymous 3 June 2011 at 11:41 Pay up and we will forget all about it. Great message to the profession. Reply Link Interested Observer 3 June 2011 at 12:53 I read today on their website that the SDT is prosecuting someone with an African name for misleading the police by not telling them that he was an accredited police station representative. If the SDT has the resources to deal with cases such as this, how come it isn’t turning over Halliwells? Reply Link Anonymous 3 June 2011 at 12:59 Where’s Wally? according to Heaton’s website, Wally aka Austin… “His commercial reputation lead to his appointment to the Business Leaders Advisory Committee to Manchester City Council for two years and currently he is a member of Salford University Corporate Governance Council and is Chairman of their Audit Committee” what an alarming thought for Salford…. Reply Link Tool 3 June 2011 at 15:55 Austin is acting for Salford in suing some guy who runs a website called vagrant in the casual ward of a workhouse. Reply Link Anonymous 4 June 2011 at 02:51 Yep – Austin is “acting” for Salford University in this ridiculous libel case. Austin – himself a property litigator – has instructed a Barrister well known for his expertese in… personal injury and negligence. Does it get better? Well he’s still Chair of Audit at the University, which has recently announced it will be making 15% of all staff redundant AND taking out large commercial loans. As Chair of Audit, he also presumably signed off on a hugely expensive lease arrangement for the University’s new premises at MediaCityUK (£40,000/week ex. Vat). This whilst the few at the top of the University reward themselves with ever greater riches, chauffeurs, grace-and-favour houses. Does it all sound strangely familiar? Reply Link SLD 4 June 2011 at 14:46 If BLG didn’t ringfence the client money shortfall then does that mean Clydes will now pick up the bill? Reply Link Tony Guise 6 June 2011 at 10:31 Client account shortages remain the responsibility of the principals who were in place at the time so the successor firms are in the clear. SRA should go for the former principals, as they usually do. Reply Link Look at the deal 7 June 2011 at 07:18 The successor firms agreed to pay down the Halliwells partners lost capital. The deal was approved by the court and presumably the SRA. The deal was based upon the amount of converted wip and the collection of unpaid invoices. The temptation to apply money received in a manner which would maximise the reduction of lost capital is there for all to see. If the ex Halliwells partners have redirected monies paid by clients in anticipation of such monies being used to pay counsel etc then it is likely that such conduct will have taken place both before and after the successor firms purchased the Halliwells assets. We do not of course know whether all of the successor firms are affected by this. We do not know whether they were even aware of what may have been going on. The SRA seems to be suggesting that there is a level of culpability but until we hear what the successor firms have to say we do not know whether there is any justification for pursuing them. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.