ONE of president Martin Mears' key lieutenants on the Law Society Council appears to be losing his practising base in the constituency which elected him due to demerger claims surrounding his firm.
Saunders Palmer Ure, the Richmond-based firm managed by Anthony Bogan, appeared to be breaking up last week.
But it was difficult to get a clear picture of the firm's status due to conflicting claims from its offices in Richmond, Hounslow and Ealing. Speaking from its Hounslow, Middlesex, office, the largest of the three, Bogan insisted the firm, the result of a merger last year, had not broken up. "It is clear there is a dispute within the partnership involving Richmond, but as far as the three partners here are concerned it is still part of the firm," he said.
Partners at the Richmond and Ealing offices refused to comment. But switchboard operators at both locations told callers they were now operating as new firms.
At Richmond the branch had reverted to its former name Saunders & Co, the firm Bogan belonged to before its merger.
Bogan was elected to the council on an overtly anti-establishment ticket last year and has played a crucial role in the presidency's campaign to come up with a solution to the problem of low conveyancing fees.
If the demerger is confirmed, Bogan's status as a lawyer practising outside the constituency which elected him will not jeopardise his place on the council, nor prevent him from standing again because he still lives in Surrey.
But the president's stance on democratic elections to the council may lay Bogan open to criticism.
Surrey society president Richard Tyler said: "I would be loathe to see the wishes of the electorate overturned for technical reasons. It is a matter for his own conscience if he is not operating in the Surrey area."