PROFITS at personal injury law firm Digby Brown fell in the year to March 2017 despite the firm posting a five per cent increase in turnover.

Overall, the amount of profit available for distribution among the firm’s partners fell by 3.5 per cent from £8.6 million to £8.3m.

The amount awarded to the firm’s top-earning partner also fell, dipping by 11 per cent from £1.1m to £971,000.

This is the second time the figure has risen above £1m only to drop back down the following year. Between 2012/13 and 2013/14 the largest profit share paid out at the firm rose from £782,000 to £1m before falling back to £918,000 a year later then rising to £1.1m in 2015/16.

Given the nature of the firm’s work it is not unusual for it to experience fluctuations in turnover and profitability, with its wholly owned litigation funding arm Compensate footing the cost of the cases its fights on a no-win, no-fee basis.

This means it only gets paid when a case is either won or settled, with some matters taking several years to conclude.

In November 2017 10 clients who had been injured when a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow reached settlement with helicopter operator Babcock almost four years after the tragedy occurred.

It is thought that the total paid out was in excess of £1m, with all 10 cases settling out of court.

The claimants had suffered a range of injuries such as fractures and psychiatric disorders as well as more serious conditions including spine or brain injuries.

Although Babcock had admitted liability early on in the cases, they took several years to settle because the company disputed the levels of payments to be made.

It is understood that the amount Digby Brown’s clients received ranged from a few thousand pounds up to several hundred thousand pounds.

Turnover at Digby Brown was up from £27.3m to £28.7m in the 2016/17 year, with much of the increase coming from Compensate, which provides litigation funding to clients of other firms as well Digby Brown’s own.

The legal side of the business posted a two per cent rise in turnover, from £25.2m to £25.7m, meaning the funding business contributed £3m to overall revenues. In the previous year it contributed £2.1m.

While the number of people employed by the firm was up from 220 to 231, staff costs remained static at £9.3m.