Kingly’s Unsecured Creditors May Lose £16.5 Million
The firm was shuttered earlier this year by the SRA, but still owes creditors almost £17 million.
Companies House records released this week showed that national law firm consolidator Kingly Solicitors Limited entered voluntary liquidation at the end of September, and a subsequent statement of the firm’s affairs revealed that its unsecured creditors are collectively owed around £17 million. However, it is likely that only a fraction of the figure will be recovered.
Kingly holds £1.3 million in fixed assets and £1.75 million in floating assets, including a listed £1 million interest in East London law practice Wiseman Lee.
“The joint liquidators are reviewing the information in relation to the purchase of Wiseman Lee LLP and will report on this in due course,” the statement said. Wiseman Lee remains open for business.
The firm’s former employees who are classed as preferential creditors are to receive £128,000 to cover redundancy payments, outstanding wages and holiday pay. After repayments have been made to preferential and secured creditors, around £327,000 is available to pay the £17 million owed to unsecured creditors.
By far the largest liability is a sum of £11 million allocated for potential claims from the Solicitors Regulation Authority for possible compensation arising from client account breaches. A further £3 million is owed to “connected” creditors and £1 million to more than a dozen trade and expense creditors, including other law firms.
Kingly’s closure by the SRA in an intervention in August was almost unprecedented for a firm of its size. The decision was based on the firm failing to comply with one or more of the terms of its license, and because there was “reason to suspect dishonesty” by manager Nurul Miah, according to the regulator.
The SRA also began an investigation into the practices of former Kingly directors hampika Ratnayake, Simon Hutcheson and Simon Crosby Peacock.
Kingly operated 16 offices across England at the time of its closure, with many of the firms it had acquired continuing to trade under their existing names. These firms included Hughmans Solicitors in London, Austin Ray in Milton Keynes, Hancock Quins Solicitors in Watford, and Giffen Couch & Archer Solicitors in Bedfordshire.