A Northumberland-based law firm that specialises in a niche area of motoring and insurance law is aiming to attract more and bigger new clients with the help of a six-figure investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
Clifford James Consultants Ltd (CJC) is one of the UK’s market leaders in the provision of legal services around the diminution in value of motor vehicles, which is the loss in value of a vehicle following a road traffic accident.
CJC already works with a wide range of blue-chip companies, private clients and insurance companies, and over recent years, its cases have been at the forefront of national developments in this area of the law.
The Stocksfield-based firm is now looking to expand its operational capacity, and is already working with a major insurer on a new product relating to claims handling.
In order to upgrade its operational systems, and recruit and train the staff needed to deliver its business plan, CJC has turned to regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers for a £150,000 investment from the Growth Fund, with long-term advisors Baker Tilly supporting CJC in obtaining the capital injection.
Clifford James Consultants Ltd set up its specialist diminution claim service in 2006, and acts for both clients making a diminution claim as well as insurance companies looking to defend diminution cases with no merit.
Stewart Fairhurst, managing director at Clifford James Consultants, says: “We’re one of the few law firms that have chosen to focus specifically on this area, and we’ve gained a great deal of detailed knowledge about it as well as a leading position within the sector as a result.
“The law of diminution has rapidly developed since we started trading, with our cases and expertise being instrumental in many of these changes.
“We already advise many of the biggest names in the industry, and now want to enhance our capacity to manage even more work from more and bigger clients.
“The systems upgrades and new staff training provisions that we’re putting in place will give us the resources we need to take advantage of the many commercial opportunities that we believe are out there for us right across the UK, and we’ll be looking to grow the team on the back of the new contracts that we’re confident will come our way.
“We looked at more traditional options for bringing new capital into the business, but NEL offered us the option that best suited our needs. The team took the time to understand what is a complex sector, and their support has given us the opportunity to move our business to a new level.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “CJC has a well-established position in an expanding and valuable niche market, and their management team now has the resources that will deliver on their commercial vision for the future of the firm.”
Michael Cantwell, Associate Director within Baker Tilly’s North East Corporate Finance team, says: “We have been working closely with Clifford James Consultants to develop its expansion strategy and secure the required funding package.
“With this funding now successfully secured, we look forward to continuing to assist the company in the next phases of their expansion.”
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £125m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0845 111 1850.
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support. It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.