Confederation Report (October 2014)

So sorry I missed the last edition of Legal News but I’m sure it was not noticed. I have to say I was enjoying an extended holiday of sun, sea and reasonably priced Rioja in Noja, Northern Spain.

I did fit in a few cultural visits as the Guggenheim Gallery is only a stone’s throw away in Bilbao where the celebrated Yoko Ono was exhibiting along with other modern artists. Yoko Ono appears to be known as an appendage to John Lennon (do you remember him?) but it soon becomes apparent that she was a successful woman in her own right before they met. It is difficult to believe that Yoko ’give peace a chance’ guru (which is not what they were singing at the recent NATO conference held in South Wales ) is in her eighties. Whilst there are some lawyers who continue to practice until this ripe old age this lawyer will be retired long, long before then. If my extended holiday is a taste of retirement then roll on I say.

On my return I along with many others attended at the Memorial Service of our very own Simon Mumford who passed untimely from this world on the 17th July 2014. Aged only 59. Simon was of course President of the Confederation of South Wales Law Societies for the period from 2006 to 2012 and was my immediate predecessor. He had been heavily involved with ’the Confederation’ since its inception with other founding members including Gwynne George now of Gwynne George Partnership, Wiljo Salen, Jonathan Hine and the father of the Confederation, Roger Jones, former partner in Merrils Ede, all being highly respected within and outside the profession. Simon was asked by Roger to draft the constitution of the Confederation and became its first secretary until 1998 when he was succeeded by Allen Oliver. Simon also encouraged local law societies and the Confederation itself to alter their Constitutions to allow access to legal executives so that their views could be considered and their interest promoted. He was a great contributor to Legal News and, quite frankly, he is a difficult act to follow. He entertained us at dinners and appeared frequently on the front of this magazine. His involvement with the Confederation was only one of his roles and he made his mark in many other aspects of his life. I remember him as a loyal friend, fighter for justice and a respected criminal advocate. It was apparent that he was held in fond affection by many of those who attended his Memorial Service.

Much has changed since the inception of the Confederation and many Law Societies are moribund save for the now very active Monmouthshire and District Law Society which, like Lazaras ,sprang back into life relatively recently aided and abetted by its very enthusiastic officers including Mr Clive Thomas, Mrs Sarah Williams Martin and Mr Keith Evans amongst others. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their annual dinner held at the Celtic Manor Resort earlier this year. We are hoping that Monmouthshire will shortly join the Confederation. Whilst it was held a little while ago it was a memorable occasion not only because of their hospitality but also because so few Annual dinners continue to be held within the Area which makes up The Confederation. Is this due to lack of enthusiasm or reflective of the increased work load for diminishing returns that most practitioners face. In any event it would be very pleasing if a little more effort could be spent in reviving Local Law Societies not only for the social occasions but with a view to making our voice heard at Chancery Lane.

The Celtic Manor Resort was of course the venue for the recent N.A.T.O. Conference which we were rightly told would give Wales an international profile by Prime Minister David Cameron. With in excess of 60 heads of state descending upon Wales this could not fail to be the case even if only a temporary basis. I suspect that holding the Ryder Cup Golf Championship there had similar effect. Also, I heard the air display over Cardiff Bay by the Red Arrows which were very impressive with a warship no less also in the bay. Was this really necessary or was it a shop window for ‘Arms for Sale’.

It has been interesting to hear the views of certain members of The Welsh Assembly regarding the referendum as to Scottish Independence Mr. Carwyn Jones, 1st Minister to the Assembly and Labour party member, takes the view that a United Kingdom with further devolved powers for both Scotland and Wales is the way forward (I liked his tartan suit by the way) whilst Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru is for complete separation on the basis of ‘why not’, and there must be an answer to that! I am an internationalist personally and fail to see how the fragmentation of the UK really serves any of the constituent parts.

In any event political developments within the presently United kingdom will have far-reaching effects and perhaps if you want job security as a legal practitioner the way forward is to put a constitutional legal cap on your head.


Gaynor McCann Davies
President of the Confederation

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