SSB Law: Clients of Sheffield firm ordered to pay thousands after 'no win no fee' claims collapse

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It is believed more than 100 people who sued for allegedly faulty work now face ruinous financial demands

A client of Sheffield firm SSB Law has been hit with a huge legal bill after a compensation claim collapsed - despite being assured it was 'no win no fee'.

Amjad Ahmed received a shock demand for £11,880 to cover costs run up by a cavity wall insulation firm he was trying to sue.

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SSB Law is based at Navigation House, South Quay Drive, Victoria Quays.
Bosses have made no public statement since it announced plans to appoint an administrator in late November due to ‘financial challenges’.SSB Law is based at Navigation House, South Quay Drive, Victoria Quays.
Bosses have made no public statement since it announced plans to appoint an administrator in late November due to ‘financial challenges’.
SSB Law is based at Navigation House, South Quay Drive, Victoria Quays. Bosses have made no public statement since it announced plans to appoint an administrator in late November due to ‘financial challenges’. | Google

He is one of what is believed to be more than 100 SSB Law clients who launched a claim for allegedly faulty work - and now face ruinous financial demands, with one standing at £27,500.

Mr Ahmed says he was initially told he could receive up to £70,000 compensation, and agreed to sign up on the basis he would not be liable for legal fees and had nothing to lose.

But SSB dropped the case when the insulation firm fought back, he said. And then its insurers, Royal and Sun Alliance, came after him.

He said: "It is so worrying and such a terrible time leading up to Christmas. I’m getting nothing from SSB. I’m worried I don’t have a leg to stand on. If I end up paying I’ll have to use money I’ve been saving up for years."

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He added: "For the first few days I was in complete shock. I rang SSB and they said you need to take legal advice! I feel like I have been hung out to dry. 

"They said it was 'no win no fee'. But then they said the claimant is 'always liable for the defendant’s costs'."

Mr Ahmed, who lives in Bradford, has been in touch with other victims online and believes there could be hundreds across Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Last month, SSB Law announced plans to appoint an administrator. Despite this, the firm is still trading. It did not respond to questions from The Star.

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Mr Ahmed has kept correspondence responding to his questions about costs.

An email from a member of SSB Law’s commercial litigation team, dated April 28 2021, states: "The claim is on a no win no fee basis, therefore if the claim is unsuccessful you will not be required to pay for third parties (sic) costs as the insurance will pay for these nor will you be required to pay for SSB Laws costs."

On December 7 this year she emailed Mr Ahmed to say he was 'always liable' for the defendant’s costs (the insulation firm's).

The email states: "The no win no fee aspect was in regards to your solicitor (our) costs in dealing with the action, the claimant was always liable for the defendant costs as per your original agreement."

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SSB Law is based at Navigation House, South Quay Drive, Victoria Quays.

Bosses have made no public statement since they announced plans to appoint an administrator in late November due to 'financial challenges'. The decision left 220 staff in limbo.

The Star contacted Royal and Sun Alliance to ask why it wasn’t pursuing SSB Law, or its insurers, for the cash.

We quoted a letter from SSB Law to its legal team which states the 'vast majority' of its clients 'will not be in a position to pay'.

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In response, an RSA spokesperson said they were 'pausing' enforcement action.

They said: "We cannot comment on individual cases, however we can confirm that RSA is seeking recovery of court-awarded costs associated with failed actions brought by SSB Law.

"We have been working with SSB Law to resolve these matters, however on the 5th December SSB Law advised its intention to appoint administrators. 

"As a result RSA is reviewing its position and will pause any enforcement action with immediate effect, pending appointment of an administrator. 

"In the meantime, if anyone involved in this matter has a query, we would ask that they contact Clyde & Co who is dealing with this matter on RSA’s behalf."

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