Minster Law is set to acquire Irwin Mitchell’s back book (WIP) of fast-track road traffic accident, employer liability and public liability injury claims, following a strategic decision by Irwin Mitchell to focus on serious injury and complex needs personal injury claims.

Irwin Mitchell chief operating officer, Craig Marshall, said: “In response to the Civil Liability Act (CLA) law reforms being implemented in May this year we’ve made a decision to move away from taking on lower value, fast-track personal injury work which represents a small part of our business.

“As a full service legal and financial services firm, we will continue to focus on helping clients who have complex personal and business issues including those suffering serious injuries, workplace illness and injury and medical negligence, as well as growing our business and private client teams”.

The planned acquisition comes after a successful summer for Minster Law, which saw the firm appointed as motor legal service provider to both LV= and esure insurance, which Minster Law CEO, Shirley Woolham, said was “the third landmark success in as many months” for the firm.

The Yorkshire-based firm, founded in 2003, settles approximately 4,000 cases each month and the acquisition will add around a further 6,500 cases per year to its case load. The move supports its plans to become the “pre-eminent” provider of legal services to brokers, insurers and their policyholders.

Matt Currie, partner and head of Irwin Mitchell’s volume personal injury department, will join Minster Law’s executive management team and board as chief legal officer. Fast track partners Sally Risbrook, Andrew Russell and Robert Watson will also transfer to Minster Law.

Currie said he was looking forward to working with Woolham and other new colleagues: “After more than 25 years at Irwin Mitchell this is an exciting new challenge for me. I’ve had a number of conversations with Shirley and her Board and it is clear that Minster Law has a clear strategy to deliver quality legal services to the insurance sector in a post CLA environment.

Over 80 Irwin Mitchell staff will TUPE transfer to Minster Law and will move from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds and Sheffield offices to Minster Law’s HQ in Wakefield, though agile and remote working is set to remain in place.   

Woolham commented: “With Irwin Mitchell choosing to step away from fast-track personal injury work, we are the partner of choice to manage their outstanding WIP and step in to serve new fast-track PI customers from the Autumn.”   

She described the purchase of the fast track book as a “significant addition” to Minster Law’s portfolio, which will “accelerate business growth in this market” and “further cements our position at the heart of the PI sector”. She said the firm is “well-capitalised [and] debt-free” with the “firepower” to make further strategic acquisitions.

Woolham added: “Across the whole of our business, we have built a winning proposition on the back of our investment in digital expertise (technology and people), and our willingness to work collaboratively with our partners to improve the customer experience.

“It was widely predicted that the whiplash reforms would lead to consolidation in personal injury, and I have previously said that Minster Law intended to acquire books of business where they add value and meet our longer term strategic aims.”

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