Law firm McClure Naismith faces penalties over overdue accounts

Law firm McClure Naismith is facing penalties for overdue accounts. Picture: Callum Bennetts

Law firm McClure Naismith is facing penalties for overdue accounts. Picture: Callum Bennetts

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LAW firm McClure Naismith is facing possible fines and criminal proceedings because its annual accounts are more than seven months overdue.

The Glasgow-based firm, which recently received an
official warning that it could be struck off the Companies House register and dissolved, was due to submit its accounts to Companies House at the start of the year.

Under the Companies Act 2006 and regulations surrounding late filings, a private company can be fined £750 if its accounts are more than three months late, rising to £1,500 when they are more than six months overdue.

Failure to file annual returns or accounts is also a criminal offence that can result in dir­ectors being fined personally in the criminal courts, according to guidelines issued by Companies House.

They state: “Any criminal proceedings taken as a result of non-filing of annual returns and accounts is separate from and in addition to any late
filing penalty imposed against the company.”

An industry source said it was “highly unusual” for a partnership of McClure Nais­mith’s stature to be so late in filing its accounts. They were due to be submitted at the end of January and the firm has previously said it was working with auditor Deloitte to resolve “technical issues”.

McClure Naismith, which also has offices in Edinburgh and London, has 28 partners. The firm is led by executive chairman Robin Shannan, who is based in London and heads up its commercial and financial services unit. He has been with the firm for more than 34 years and became executive chairman in October 2012.

The most recent accounts available for McClure Naismith, which also employs 17 associates and consultants across its three offices, show turnover fell to £12 million in the 12 months to 30 April, 2013, down from £13.1m the previous year. Profits before partners’ pay and profit share dropped to £2.7m, compared with almost £3m in 2012, while remuneration for members of the limited liability partnership remained broadly unchanged at just over £1m.

In May, the firm admitted to an “embarrassing” error with its paperwork after failing to tell Companies House that it remained a trading entity.

The warning, on behalf of the Registrar of Companies, told McClure Naismith that, “unless cause is shown to the contrary” within three months, the practice “will be struck off the register and the limited liability partnership will be dissolved”. The striking-off threat was withdrawn after Shannan wrote to Companies House to explain the blunder, which he blamed on the misreading of an official notice.

He added at the time: “McClure Naismith is very much carrying on business.”

A spokeswoman for the Law Society of Scotland said: “The society regularly requires firms to provide information about the client accounts and there is a regular inspection of firms to ensure they are acting in accordance with the accounts rules for client money.

“Firms are required by the incorporated practice rules to send us their accounts at the same time they send them to Companies House, however the monitoring of timely submissions of accounts is a matter for Companies House.”

Shannan, who did not res­pond to requests for comment, has previously declined to go into detail over the reason for the firm’s failure to file its latest annual figures on time, but in May said it was “working hard” with auditor Deloitte and would “lodge the accounts shortly”.

McClure Naismith was founded in Glasgow in 1826 and in 1979 opened its Edinburgh office. A base in London was set up in 1991.

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