Official groups cannot 'sell out'

I write following an article which appeared in The Lawyer 7 March under the heading 'SPG 'sold out' to Law Society says member'.

While I make no claim to any personal knowledge as to what Mr Dubow said to your reporter, it is fair for me to say the article is at best misleading. It must be pointed out that the Sole Practitioners Group is funded by the Law Society because it is an official group of the Law Society, in common with many other groups representing specific disciplines or specific individuals. The SPG is not a group to which individual members subscribe. If it was, it would be a matter for individual choice as to whether a member joined. A subscription would be raised in sufficient sums to enable the group's activities to be conducted efficiently and to provide dissemination of information. That is not the case here.

Each sole practitioner in England and Wales, who is a member of the Law Society, is by their very nature of sole practice, a member of the group. It is my wish and that of the executive committee, that more sole practitioners will become involved in the activities of the group and it is equally right to say that the group's current financial situation is such that the executive committee finds itself in difficulties in providing regular and proper dissemination of information.

That difficulty should not be confused with any "sell out". It is up to the whole group through its executive committee to display it is being run in a responsible manner to enable applications for further grants to be made, which are essential to enable the proper dissemination of information and to enable the group to function properly on behalf of 4,000-plus members.

Unfortunately past differences of opinion which have been publicised almost to the point of sensationalism, have increased difficulties which, hopefully, are now laid to rest.

I make no comment about the remarks in the article concerning Miss Turl. I can only say that if she had chosen to attend either one of the last two national executive committee meetings, the problem she refers to would have been dealt with and concluded some time ago. I think I should say on behalf of the executive committee, that Miss Turl is currently the vice-chair of the committee and it might be more helpful if she were to make her observations to members of her committee, who are otherwise unaware of her attitude upon outstanding matters which have yet to be resolved.

John Lymbury

Press officer

National Sole Practitioners Group.