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The Law Society has been strongly criticised by former president Robert Sayer over its handling of a postal ballot on the proposed rise in the Practising Certificate (PC) fee
The postal ballot sent out last week asks members to vote for or against a resolution presented at the AGM by former president Robert Sayer calling for PC fees to stay low. According to Sayer, the Law Society has deliberately changed the way it conducts postal ballots in order to impress its own view, that the PC fee should rise, on members. Customarily, members are sent two statements with their postal ballot slips - one opposing the resolution and one for it. But in a letter accompanying the ballot slips, the Law Society included only a statement opposing Sayer's resolution. Sayer said: "To send out a question with only one side of the argument seems extraordinarily unfair and undemocratic. It's how you expect elections in Stalinist Russia to be run. Not what one expects from an organisation which purports to stand for justice and equality. To be blunt, it's a disgrace. I did complain, but no one had the courtesy to even reply, let alone correct it." A spokesperson for the Law Society admitted that it was "customary" to give both sides of the argument in postal ballots, but not compulsory. When asked why Sayer's statement was not included in the letter, the spokesperson said: "We think Robert's views have been circulated widely enough among the profession." It has cost the Law Society £50,000 to carry out the postal ballot. The Law Society is already suffering an estimated deficit of £5m. It spent in excess of £1m fighting allegations of racial and sexual discrimination brought by former vice-president Kamlesh Bahl, in which Robert Sayer was a defendant.