Girling raises election stakes with threat to quit if Mears wins

Law Society presidential challenger Tony Girling will quit the council if he loses the election to president Martin Mears because he is worried Mears will become “dictatorial” if he wins a second term.

Girling told The Lawyer: “I don't think I could sit on a council led by Mears with what he would see as an almost dictatorial mandate if elected for a second time. He would demand that matters should be pushed through without dissent.”

Mears responded: “I am sorry to hear what he says. If elected, I don't want to ride roughshod over anyone. I would want to involve him in decisions. I recognise he has a significant degree of support. His comments are not fair.”

With just a fortnight to go before the poll, Mears has changed his mind and agreed to join in an election debate with Girling and the third challenger Anthony Bogan.

Previously, Mears had refused to appear on a platform with Bogan, who he has accused of splitting the anti-establishment vote. Bogan, a former Mears supporter, wants the society's regulatory and representative role separated.

Meanwhile, the inquiry by three ex-presidents into society treasurer Michael Howells is now underway. He has been severely rebuked by the Solicitors Complaints Bureau for failing to provide a client with adequate professional services.