Logistics company Stobart Group has been granted an ABS licence for its latest legal enterprise, One Legal Ltd.
It is the latest big brand to move into the legal sector, following the announcement yesterday that Direct Line had applied for an ABS licence to launch DLG Legal Services, a firm where legal services will be provided by Parabis Law (16 July 2013).
One Legal will sit alongside the company’s first legal venture Stobart Barristers which launched last year with plans to provide direct access to barristers (18 May 2012). Stobart Barristers was given regulatory approval by the Bar Standards Board last year, while the claims management arm, Stobart Claims Management Ltd, has received regulatory approval from the MoJ’s claims management regulation arm, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has given it approval to launch an insurance broker subsidiary.
Despite press speculation that legal director and Stobart Barristers founder Trevor Howarth has designs on the government’s new criminal legal aid contracts, he is yet to confirm exactly how the ABS licence will be used.
The logistics company found itself at the centre of the legal aid row in May when Howarth described traditional legal aid firms as ”’wounded animals waiting to die”.
The comments sparked fury among lawyers and members of the judiciary who were fighting the government’s plans to introduce price competative tendering for legal aid contracts and remove defendants’ right to choose their own solicitor (4 June 2013).