The lawyer who blamed his staff's performance for forcing him to make them redundant has had his practising certificate suspended and his firm shut down.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority closed down Blavo & Co with immediate effect on Wednesday and has forbidden John Blavo, the sole director, from practising as a solicitor. The SRA said the intervention was necessary because there was reason to suspect Blavo of "dishonesty".

Blavo's firm, which employed over 240 people in 18 offices around the UK, has been banned from operating, and the SRA will now take all documents and cash held by it. Meanwhile, since the SRA is not responsible for staff or creditors following an intervention, his employees will be on their own.

Two weeks ago Blavo told RollOnFriday that he was putting all staff into a redundancy consultation because of legal aid cuts and woeful performance reviews. His story unravelled quickly. Within days the Legal Aid Agency revealed that actually it had terminated its contracts with the firm because it had "identified significant concerns" about its claims and reported it to the police. Blavo then appears to have tried to sell the firm via an anonymised advert emailed to prospective bidders, which sadly did not have enough space to mention that a queue of police officers and SRA investigators came free with any purchase.


The SRA would not disclose details of Blavo's suspected dishonesty, but said that the intervention was also required to "protect the interests of clients" and because, in addition to Blavo, it suspects dishonesty on the part of "a manager or employee". Blavo, who set up the firm in 1997, ran it alongside practice director Fred Blavo and policy director Lynn Blavo.

Labouring under the delusion that the firm has not been shut down and that his permission is required, Blavo told RollOnFriday the firm "has been advised, by the SRA, that it wishes to intervene". He added, "We have not been provided with an opportunity to make representations. We are currently taking legal advice and do not wish to make any further comments at this stage".
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