A FLAGSHIP law firm in Bury town centre has been closed after its founder was accused of suspected dishonesty.
Orbis Solicitors, in the Mill Gate centre, was shut after officers from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) visited the premises in the Mill Gate centre last week.
The move came after managing director Ms Anne Bradley, who launched the firm in 2005, had her practising certificate suspended for failing to comply with SRA accounts rules.
In the meantime, an agent has been appointed to deal with all matters relating to Orbis.
A spokesman for the SRA said: “The practising certificate of Ms Bradley has been automatically suspended, so she cannot practise as a solicitor.
“The SRA has intervened as there is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of any manager or employee of a recognised body in connection with that body’s business, namely Ms Bradley.
“An intervention means the SRA has closed a firm with immediate effect. The authority will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm, including clients’ papers, and take possession of all money held by the firm, including clients’ money.
“At this stage of the SRA’s work, no further details can be disclosed. It is only if disciplinary proceedings become necessary that any information is released into the public domain.”
Ms Bradley originally founded the company in Denton and, in 2008, Orbis moved to new premises in Bolton Street, Ramsbottom.
In 2011, the business transferred to Princes Court in the town. The solicitors and soccer club Ramsbottom United signed a three-year sponsorship agreement in 2008, which was later extended for the same period in 2011.
Last year, Orbis relocated to a new office in The Mall, Bury, employing a 12-strong staff.
An Orbis client, who declined to be named, said: “I’d sent an email to the company which was intercepted by the agent acting on behalf of the SRA. Its closure hasn’t come as a shock to me as there had been a large turnover of staff.”
Paul Mulderrig, a solicitor and director of Rossendale law firm Mulderrigs, advised that those affected by the closure should seek alternative legal advice as a “matter of urgency”.
He said: “They should contact another solicitor who will arrange to get their file and take stock of their case.”
Ms Bradley was unavailable for comment.
- Orbis clients with inquiries can contact agent Marion Vesey or the intervention team at Mansfield-based Shacklocks LLP on 01623 423073.