Sole practitioners group split on MDPs

THE EXECUTIVE body of the Sole Practitioners' Group (SPG) is split over multidisciplinary partnerships (MDPs) with 50 per cent in favour and 40 per cent against the Law Society's plan to sweep aside its ban later this year.

SPG chairman Montagu Martin is in favour of MDPs, saying it would be a “retrograde step” if the rules were not changed. His vice-chairman, Paul Boucher, who lost a financial director because of the ban, is also in favour.

According to Martin, the group's secretary, Janis Purdy is, however, “one of their main protagonists”.

Martin says that at the last meeting the executive wanted to send its views to the Law Society in a report, but “there was a division of views” and no agreement could be reached.

Ultimately, it agreed the report should accept the inevitability of MDPs being permitted, but pointed out that a “substantial body of sole practitioners are against MDPs in principle”.

It also expresses fears that the rules the Law Society must bring in to regulate them would be extremely complex.

Martin adds: “The executive of 30-odd cannot speak for our 4,800 members, but a substantial number of sole practitioners are against MDPs in principle.”

A Law Society spokesman says he welcomes the SPG's views. The deadline for the consultation expires at the end of February and Law Society president, Michael Mathews aims to get MDPs introduced before the end of his term in the summer.