Pioneering Newcastle pay equality firm goes under

A Newcastle law firm that claims to have won billions of pounds for female public sector workers in equal pay cases is to close at the end of next month as its English caseload has dried up.

Stefan Cross Solicitors – which was launched in 2002 – has gone into voluntary liquidation and will close its doors on 30 September with the loss of about a dozen jobs including one qualified lawyer position. 

Founding partner Stefan Cross said continuing his work in England was difficult because of the increasing trend of local councils to settle only on condition that the firm not sue them again. 

Cross continues to have about 12,000 cases proceeding against authorities in Scotland, working in conjunction with Edinburgh-based Fox and Partners and campaigning group Action for Equality. 

Cross, who was made an honorary QC earlier this year (27 February 2013), confirmed that while no new instructions were being accepted at his Newcastle firm, ongoing claims against Sunderland City Council would continue. He told The Lawyer that over the last 11 years, the firm had dealt with some 250,000 claims worth a total of some £2bn. 

He said he had “mixed feelings” about the firm’s closure. “It has been great for the individuals who have won settlements. However, the status quo remains unchanged. There has been no cultural change and that is very depressing,” Cross said.

Cross maintained that public authorities “rejig jobs and change collective bargaining procedures to enhance the value of male jobs while doing nothing for female jobs”. 

The Newcastle office of insolvency experts KSA Group is handling the administration of the firm. It said all creditors will be paid and have until 30 November to produce claims.