Lord Chancellor v John Blavo  EWHC 126 (QB),  MHLO 6
Freezing order continued There was a strongly arguable case that John Blavo was party to an arrangement whereby false claims were submitted to the LAA in many thousands of cases, there was evidence of a less than scrupulous approach to his duty of disclosure to the Court, and evidence of a recent attempt improperly to put property beyond the reach of the Lord Chancellor. Taking these matters together there was a real risk that any judgment would go unsatisfied because of disposal of assets. Given the sums of money involved and the admitted financial difficulties it was just and convenient in all the circumstances to continue the freezing order. (The precursor to the official investigation was an audit during which 49 files were passed to the LAA's counter-fraud team, whose conclusions included: "In respect of 42 of these 49 files HMCTS have confirmed that they have no record of there having been tribunal proceedings either in respect of the individual client or on the date when the file indicates...Following this, the LAA made inquiries of the NHS on a selection of files among the 42 that had no tribunal hearing and the NHS confirmed that they have no records relating to 16 of the clients... After completing this analysis the Applicant undertook a further comparison of all mental health tribunal claims against the HMCTS system. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Company had submitted a total of 24,658 claims for attendance at tribunals of which 1485 (6%) tribunals were recorded by HMCTS as having taken place... After visiting the Company's Head Office and requesting documentation from the Company and the Respondent, the LAA team used an electronic sampling tool to randomly select 144 cases for further investigation, across the last three complete financial years. Only 3% could be evidenced from HMCTS records...")
- Monidipa Fouzder, 'Practice curbs slapped on former Blavo & Co directors' (Law Society Gazette, 18/8/16)
- Government website: Queen's Bench Masters List for 27/10/16. A further hearing in this case will be heard on 27/10/16, before Master Kay QC in RCJ room E121 at 2pm.
- Monidipa Fouzder, 'Lord chancellor seeks £22m from Blavo & Co director' (Law Society Gazette, 4/10/18) — This article summarises proceedings before Mr Justice Pepperall in the Royal Courts of Justice on 3/10/18, in which the Lord Chancellor seeks over £22m. Case number TLQ17/0821.
- Monidipa Fouzder, 'Blavo & Co burgled after firm told of legal aid probe, court told' (Law Society Gazette, 5/10/18) — This article covers the second day of a hearing into the Lord Chancellor's bid to seek £22m from John Blavo.