The International Bar Association's (IBA) working party on multidisciplinary partnerships is meeting behind closed doors this week in an attempt to thrash out a common policy on MDPs.

The working party, which was set up in July, has been up against the clock in an attempt to finalise a draft position paper in time for the IBA's annual conference in New Delhi.

David Andrews of legal consultancy, The David Andrews Partnership, who sits on the working party, said a draft had been distributed to its dozen members.

But, according to Ward Bower, the US legal consultant in charge of the project, no common position had emerged. “It is not an easy issue”, he said.

Neither Bower nor Andrews would reveal the draft's contents, but Andrews said that feedback had been “mixed”. “Views differ quite widely, so it is necessary to have a full debate and discussion on the issue”.

If a draft paper is finalised, it will be distributed to IBA members for approval. The eventual hope, says Andrews, is to submit it to the World Trade Organisation which is reviewing the liberalisation of legal services.