UK group's true feelings on MDPs

I write as head of the UK delegation to the CCBE and refer to your article 'Defiance or Alliance' (The Lawyer, 10 January).

In particular, that portion which isolates the position on Europe, under that name, is in error where it states that the CCBE's vote in favour of a ban on MDPs was unanimous, except for the UK.

The UK delegation consists of six constituent bodies, namely the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of Scotland, the Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Bar of Northern Ireland, the Bar of England and Wales and the Law Society of England and Wales. Of these, the first five are clear and are against changing their rules to permit multi-disciplinary partnerships.

As is well known, the Law Society of England and Wales have had the matter under review for some time. What actually transpired on the vote was that the UK delegation voted in favour of a continuing ban on MDPs, but the Law Society of England and Wales asked to have their, perhaps transitory, position noted by way of reservation, and this is what occurred.

My general observation is that for you to equate the position of the Law Society of England and Wales as being the UK position perpetuates a continuing sore within the UK delegation and is, frankly, denigrating of the other constituent bodies.

John Thompson QC