Tuesday 15 January 2013 by John Hyde

Personal injury firms from both the defendant and claimant sectors are among a glut of new alternative business structures announced today.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed the identities of six new licences to take the total it has granted up to 74. Six more are due to be revealed in the coming days.

The new ABSs include:

- Somerset remortgage lending specialist Fasttrac. Director Jonathan Stokes said that ABS status would allow Fasttrac to appoint non-lawyers who bring expertise and talent to the business as managers and directors.

'Fasttrac operates in the lender market and it is vital that our corporate structure reflects that of our major clients,' he said. 'To operate to the highest standards it is important that we are able to recruit people with the right skills and mind set, and the opportunity to recruit non-lawyers into senior positions is welcome.'

- Insurance firm Horwich Farrelly. It is one of the first ABSs from that area of work and its chief executive Anthony Hughes told the Gazette there were a number of factors behind the move. As an LDP, the firm would have had to convert into an ABS anyway, but the prospect of changes in personal injury accelerated the need for change.

'The sector we operate in is quite frankly going through so much change that I didn't want to be hamstrung by not being an ABS when opportunities come up,' he said. Hughes added that although three small claimant firms had approached him with a view to a merger in recent weeks, there were no plans for external investments or expansion at this stage.

- Acorn Law, a firm set up in the aftermath of the announcement of a ban on referral fees. The firm, based in Kent, was vocal in its opposition to referral fees for personal injury work.

- Liverpool-based Law 4U, another PI claimant firm to be granted an ABS licence.

- Welsh legal aid firm Ty Arian.

- Mayfair-based personal and business dispute resolution firm Grosvenor Law.

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