John Blavo, the Managing Partner of a firm that was compulsorily wound-up, has been ordered by the High Court to repay more than £22 million in public money.
Blavo's eponymous firm, Blavo & Co Solicitors, was established in 2011 and specialised in mental health cases. At its peak the firm employed over 240 people in 18 offices around the UK.
But in 2015 the Legal Aid Agency launched an investigation into suspected dodgy dealings at the firm. When the LAA examined over 24,000 cases for which Blavo & Co had claimed legal aid money, it could only find court and tribunal records for 1,485 of them. The LAA calculated that the firm had submitted claims for fabricated work totally over £22 million.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority closed down Blavo & Co that year, and banned Blavo from practising as a solicitor.
Last year, the Lord Chancellor brought an action in the High Court against Blavo, who was the sole director of the firm.
Mr Justice Pepperall has now ruled that Blavo & Co carried out "systemic fraud" and exhibited an "endemic" culture of making fake legal aid claims. Pepperall held that Blavo must repay the £22,136,001 for the fabricated cases, which he no doubt has stuffed in his back pocket. Blavo always used to provide an excuse (always nuts) to RollOnFriday in respect of whatever shenanigans he'd been involved in, but he has now fallen silent.