A mother-of-of-two fears she will be left homeless after signing up to a controversial 'no win no fee' legal firm which has collapsed owing £48million.

Around 1,500 residents were offered free legal representation by SSB Law, which said it would help them win compensation for dodgy cavity wall insulation.

However, as reported by the Lancashire Telegraph last month, the firm fell into administration leaving people liable for huge court fees and facing losing their homes.

The firm also faces a probe by legal and financial watchdogs.

Devastated Sharon, 47, who lives in Burnley, became liable for £17,000 in court costs.

Lancashire Telegraph: Sharon Lord, from Burnley

The company's collapse left her footing the bill for their failed attempts to win her case - and she now faces threats from bailiffs and County Court Judgements (CCJs).

Sharon claims SSB Law used tactics, which she said made her feel she had 'no choice' but to pursue a claim.

She said: "All I can think about is I’m going to lose my home.

"Everything that is keeping my children in a stable way of life is going to go. It’s beyond devastating. There’s no aspect of my life it doesn’t touch.”

Sharon said the firm had approached her four years ago after targeting residents with cavity wall insulation in terraced properties.

And she was heartbroken when a surveyor they sent to her property reported that without substantial corrections, her £65,000 home would be rendered “worthless”.

Sharon said she felt she had "no option" but to pursue a no win no fee case through SSB Law to claw back the cash for the removal of the insulation and repairs.

Lancashire Telegraph: The exterior of the house which appears damaged from the cavity wall

But in January, she received an email saying it had gone into administration, and she was liable to pay the costs of opposition solicitors who took on the Sheffield-based firm.

Sharon, who was hoping to go to university next year so she could change careers, now lives in fear that her children's possessions will soon be targeted by debt collectors.

She said: “I am terrified that the bailiffs are going to turn up at my door.

“My children have things but I don’t have things. They have things that I’ve bought them, things that their dad bought them, presents mainly.

“I’ve spent two and half years at college, trying to build a new career for a better life for me and my family, and it’s gone because I won’t get student finance.

“I feel like I’ve had the carpet swept from underneath me. I’ve had to come out of work. I can’t even remember my name most of the time at the moment.

“The money we do have is not going to cover this, so I risk the house - and there's the fact that if I’ve got a CCJ on there, I can’t even get out of this.”

Antony Higginbotham, MP for Burnley, blasted the firm for leaving many of his constituents "palpably distressed".

He added: "It cannot be right that a law firm promises to take a case on a no win no fee basis, only then to go bust, leaving people facing huge legal bills.

"That’s the purpose of insurance and is why this issue needed raising for those who are now palpably distressed at what these bills will mean for their family."

READ MORE: Burnley MP backs clients facing huge bills after law firm fails

Sharon said her cavity wall insulation work was completed on her home in 2014 as part of a government-funded scheme.

But within a few years, she had a serious damp problem in the property, which left water “running down the walls” of the converted gable end terrace.

In 2020, she said a canvasser from SSB Law, part of SSB Group Ltd, knocked on her door and asked if she wished to pursue a claim for the removal of it and repair work.

And she had felt 'pressured' into going ahead with it when a surveyor declared it would cost £65,132.21 to correct the problem - more than the value of her house.

Sharon said: “I had a catch-up telephone call from the solicitors. I said ‘Where does this leave me? How would that affect me if I ever wanted to move?’

“They said, ‘Well, basically, you’d just be handing your keys back over to your mortgage company, because your house is worthless’.

“I can’t even think of the words about how that makes you feel. But looking back in hindsight, that was all a trap to keep me in this claim.

“I felt really pressured, like there was no escape. And in the end of the day, you put your faith in these people - they are lawyers."

Sharon said SSB Law first tried to sue her builders but then took on the government instead after finding out that their company had gone bankrupt.

And over the next four years, she said the firm had advised her not to carry out any repairs on her slowly crumbling home while the case progressed.

Lancashire Telegraph: Sharon Lord's Burnley home

She said: “I was letting my house go to neglect, not by choice, but because that’s what I had been told to do.

"I’m very house-proud. I had rebuilt this house and to see it going into disrepair was not just stressful but heartbreaking.

“When they wanted documents, they wanted them yesterday from me. They were quite abrupt in some of the calls.

"I think it was a form of bullying tactics just to keep me hooked into the scheme.”

Sharon said after years of legal wrangling, a second surveyor visited her property in August last year.

She said SSB Law claimed that this was needed as her initial assessor had now moved to South Africa and therefore would not testify as part of her claim in court.

Roughly two weeks later, she got a call from SSB Law telling her to drop her case as the initial assessment of the damage had been incorrect.

Sharon said she felt furious but was still assured that she would not pay a penny towards the failed lawsuit as the firm’s insurance would cover it.

But on January 12, she got an email saying SSB Law had gone into administration, so she was now liable for £17,000 in court costs - and it was too late to appeal.

She said: “It had gone to court on January 2, and they wanted £17,000 by February 27. There was £16,500 to be paid to the opposing team and £500 in court costs.

“I didn’t have time to appeal because you only have seven days. I was in absolute panic mode by the time I got all the paperwork through."

Sharon’s experiences echo possibly thousands of other cases where residents have suddenly been given huge bills due to the collapse of the heavily indebted law firm.

Another customer, Liz Wilkes, 77, also from Burnley, said she was facing “sleepless nights” after she received a court demand for £18,000 after the firm went bust.

She had similarly pursued a claim for compensation regarding her cavity wall insulation on a no-win no-fee basis and hadn’t expected to pay a penny.

While Yusuf Patel, from Blackburn, who made an almost identical claim, recently received a charging order for £27,500 following SSB Law's demise.

READ MORE: Lancashire people chased for thousands over cavity wall claims

Sharon said she knew of hundreds of other people through social media who were facing eye-watering legal fees and possible financial ruin.

She added: “I’m not the only one – and I think at the moment that’s the only thing that’s keeping me going. I know there are so many of us out there.

“I feel like it’s a case of someone just wanting to make a quick buck somewhere and I get left with the bill and interest.

“I think I’ve gone past angry. The hatred I feel for these people at this moment in time is surreal.”

Solicitors at expert Law firm Hugh James believe there could be "in excess" of 1,500 Cavity Wall Insulation claims connected to SSB Law that have failed.

And they have suggested that the company's ex-clients will now face legal bills mounting up to £35,000 on average or more - which are not covered by insurance.

Erich Kurtz, from their financial mis-selling team, said: "The clients we're representing have previously been informed that they were protected from adverse costs and had ATE insurance to meet any adverse costs they might face.

"But it is now clear every ex-client we have spoken to is facing significant and unexpected legal bills as a result.

"We're assisting them in seeking a reduction in these adverse costs and helping them reach a compromise on enforcement proceedings to avoid where possible, bailiffs, charging orders or threats of insolvency.

"Simultaneously we're pursuing a professional negligence claim against SSB Law's professional indemnity insurers to discharge the adverse costs they face."

A spokesperson from the Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed that they were now investigating a range of complaints resulting from SSB Law's collapse.

They said: “We are aware of the concerns of many householders and are investigating these issues.

"We understand a number have already contacted both the Legal Ombudsman and Financial Services Ombudsman to complain about the standard of service they have received.”

SSB Law was co-founded in 2007 by ex-police officer and the firm's CEO Jeremy Brooke.

It became part of SSB Group Ltd in 2018, which encompassed several other wings, including SSB Funding, SSB Insurance, SSB Financial and SSB Compliance.

Brooke told The Law Society Gazette in 2021 that his team liked taking on “complex legal arguments…that other solicitors have looked at but then not proceeded with.”

The same year, the business expanded when it purchased Pure Legal, following its collapse, which came with an estimated 13,500 cavity wall insulation cases.

However, in November last year, SSB Group Ltd said it had filed for administration.

The company’s statement read: “Directors of the company are currently working with the proposed administrators to facilitate an acceptable outcome for clients and the company is in contact with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure all standards and regulations are met.

"All clients will be contacted in due course and are not required to take any further action.”

This was completed on January 4 when insolvency firm FRP Advisory was brought in to manage the company - which is now understood to be closed.

A note on the company's website told customers: "The services previously provided by SSB Group Limited have been passed to a number of different legal firms.

"The relevant firm will be in touch in due course with more information and next steps."

Anthony Collier and Kelly Burton of FRP Advisory, who were appointed as joint administrators of SSB Group Ltd on 4 January, have been approached for comment.

Jeremy Brooke has also been approached for comment.