On 30 September, it was extensively reported that Irwin Mitchell’s book of fast-track personal injury (PI) business had been sold to Minster Law for an undisclosed fee – ‘one of the biggest legal acquisitions of the year to date’.
The Law Society Gazette indicated that Irwin Mitchell’s back book consisted of around 20,000 road-traffic accident (RTA), employers’ liability (EL) and public liability (PL) claims,[i] though Legal Futures disclosed a higher figure in the region of 25,000 claims.[ii]
It is understood that the terms of the deal facilitate an ongoing partnership between the claimant firms, under which Irwin Mitchell will continue to pass on low-value PI enquiries to Minster Law, adding an estimated 6,500 cases to its work-in-progress (WIP) on an annual basis.
As a result of this new injection of work, Minster Law should see an increase in its average number of settlements from current levels of 4,000 cases-per-month.
Much of Minster Law’s concentration will now be on volume RTA work, having recently been appointed as motor legal service provider to both LV= and Esure, earlier this summer. That being said, its procurement of Irwin Mitchell’s EL/PL portfolios has also been hailed as ‘significant’. When viewed in the round, the acquisition appears to support the firm’s strategy to ‘accelerate business growth’ and ‘lead consolidation in the market’.
By contrast, Irwin Mitchell has made it clear that it intends to move away from fast-track PI work, in the wake of Civil Liability Act whiplash reforms, which were implemented on 31 May 2021. Instead, its attention will turn to serious injury, industrial injury and medical negligence claims.
Over 80 staff members from Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield and Leeds offices are set to relocate to Minster Law’s Wakefield office, expanding its employee count to almost 600. One such partner is Matt Currie, who will join the Yorkshire firm’s Executive Management Team as Chief Legal Officer.
[i] John Hyde, ‘Irwin Mitchell sells low-value PI business as 80 staff switch firms’ (30 September 2021 Law Gazette) <https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/irwin-mitchell-sells-low-value-pi-business-as-80-staff-switch-firms/5109987.article> accessed 5 October 2021.
[ii] Neil Rose, ‘More PI consolidation as Minster Law buys Irwin Mitchell’s fast-track work’ (30 September 2021 Legal Futures) <https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/more-pi-consolidation-as-minster-law-buys-irwin-mitchells-fast-track-work> accessed 5 October 2021.