Mears comes under fire over quota for trainees

A MEMBER of one of Martin Mears' presidential working parties has accused the group of trying to impose a quota on new trainees “via the back door”.

Damaging divisions within the working party on entry to the profession are exposed in a letter published in this week's The Lawyer by Peter Crawford, of London firm Stitt & Co.

The letter is a response to an article in last week's issue in which Mears said one working party had “been so successful in maintaining balance it is likely to achieve nothing at all”.

Crawford, who says he supported Mears in the election, takes the criticism to be a reference to the working party he sits on which aims to fulfil one of Mears' key election promises.

He says the group realised early on there were “insuperable obstacles” to a change in training regulations designed to limit student numbers, and criticises it for “going outside its remit” by considering an aptitude test to raise standards with the side effect of reducing numbers.

He says he and three other members of the group had expressed their dissent to a report due to go to January's council meeting.

“Instead of referring the interim report together with the notes of dissent to the full council it was withheld without any reference to the working party members,” he adds.

See page 13 for the full letter.