• Sundeep Bhatia

WHY DEMOCRACY MUST PREVAIL IN THE SOCIETY OF ASIAN LAWYERS

WHY DEMOCRACY MUST PREVAIL IN THE SOCIETY OF ASIAN LAWYERS

I was a Member of The Society of Asian Lawyers in its early days when Sailesh Mehta , my immediate predecessor as Chairman, was serving his first term . For some reason my membership lapsed and I lost touch with the Society until 2005. At that time I was running my own Criminal Law Practice in Neasden. The Legal Services Commission,for the first time,announced its intention to introduce Price Competitive Tendering. I realised the damage this would cause to diversity in the Legal Profession and approached the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association to lend my support to their Anti PCT campaign. They asked me to speak to the Society Of Asian Lawyers(SAL) about SAL lending support to that campaign. I approached the then Chair and received an indifferent response. I put the Society of Asian Lawyers out of my mind for a few weeks until I received a fax from them .. The Society was convening a public meeting to discuss a campaign against PCT . “What a turn around “I thought to myself.!” I attended that meeting and was pleasantly surprised. There had been a change of leadership following a Democratic election. Sailesh Mehta was back as Chairman and so began a term of leadership in which The Society of Asian Lawyers was,once again,a force for good. During the 2+ years Sailesh was chair he ,with the Law Society,took the Legal Services Commission to court and saw off Lord Carter’s planned reforms. He introduced the concept of the Diversity Charter to The Law Society. Under his tutallage I gained confidence and drafted consultation papers for the Society. I wrote for magazines,took part in debates and learnt how to Campaign. I became one of two Vice Chairs and,in July 2008 , I was elected as Chair. Over the next two years I did all I could to advance the interests and futures of Asian Lawyers and,more importantly,the communities that they serve. I have been passionate about SAL.It is a force for good that can influence the legal world,it’s representative bodies and regulators. I am determined that SAL should continue to be both representative and democratic. The committee of SAL has now decided that the membership of all members has come to an end and that everyone will have to reapply for paid membership ,which comes into force on January 1st.

It is therefore imperative that all current members ,and those contemplating membership, should apply for paid membership. Elections are due anytime in the next three months and a healthy electorate is essential for the future credibility of the society. The amount involved is small(£10 to £15 a year). Forms can be obtained from

khan.muhammadk@googlemail.com.

Alternatively if anyone wants to email me at sundeep.bhatia@beaumonde- law.co.uk then I will forward the forms to them. Let us all continue to ensure the relevance and democracy of SAL by means of full participation as paid members..

#democracy #Diversity #Election #SocietyofAsianLawyers

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