Confederation Report (April 2014)

The Annual General Meeting of the Confederation of South Wales Law Societies (“The Confederation “) was held on the 5th March 2014. The Confederation has been in existence for many years now.

I recall its inception in the mid 1990’s the founder members being one Gwynne George now of the Gwynne George partnership, Mr Roger Jones of Merrills Ede and Mr Allen Oliver amongst others. Meetings were held at the then Polytechnic of Wales Glyn Taff campus.

Much has changed since then but this year’s A.G.M was much the same as any other and the following officers were duly elected. I remain President of the confederation for another year with Mr Richard Fisher and Mrs Frances Edwards as Senior and Junior Vice Presidents respectively. Mr Jonathan Hine remains Treasurer; Jonathan Hine has been our treasurer for many years, keeping our books in order and we thank him for his services.

Other familiar faces remain with us. Education officer is Mr Geraint Williams previously of the Law Society in Wales who gives us the benefit of his not inconsiderable experience in training, Mr David Dixon, the Law Society Constituency member for South East Wales, Mr Paul Morgan child care lawyer at RCT being responsible for Equality and Diversity. Many thanks also to Mr Michael Walters our secretary who keeps us all in order.

Our special thanks and wishes go Mr Simon Mumford our public relations officer. Many of our readers will recall Simon’s column in Legal News. He was, of course President of the Confederation for 6 years and remains our PR man.

There are other Co-opted members representing various aspects of the Legal Profession, these include Miss Trudy McBride (Legal Aid) Donna Whitehead and Karen Jones (University of South Wales) and Lynne Squires (CILEX). If I have failed to mention other officers and members who have worked to make the Confederation a success, like those at the Oscars, I apologise for my omission and thank them for their services.

There was one noteable change at this AGM, this being in the number of neighbouring Law Society Societies which have serving presidents. Cardiff and District remain the most active with Mr Simon Cradick being current president. The Rhymney Valley can boast a President, Mr Alun Lloyd of Robertsons, and the Pontypridd and District Law Society still manages to host a very lively dinner. Others remain unfortunately bereft of a President and largely defunct

In this climate the question must be raised is the Confederation itself defunct? Well the answer must be, certainly not! The need for representation is now greater than it has been many years. Not only for our clients but also for members of the Profession many of whom have seen a substantial decline in their income over the years. Although recent representations and demonstrations have resulted in some concessions re funding not only regarding legal aid for family crime and social welfare matters but also PI the changes have been imposed largely regardless of the same. It is for this reason that legal associations must continue to exist and, like everything else, there is strength in numbers.

The Confederation therefore invites those in areas such as Bridgend who are not represented by a local law society to join and become individual members so that the Confederation can continue to make representations on their behalf. The annual membership fee is just £25 and affords various benefits: further details are available from our secretary, Mr Michael Walters.

The AGM was held at the Entrecote Café de Paris, Mermaid Quay. The venue is very pleasant and affords private dining facilities for those who seek a dinner party atmosphere without having to take responsibility for the cooking. Whilst the menu is very nice, portions are not for the hearty eater and I did remain a little peckish after dinner. It may well be that restaurants in Cardiff are now catering for the showbiz set who are constantly watching their figures. There has been a great influx of television and film production to the area the most famous remains Dr Who but also includes Holby City amongst others. Even Russell Crowe was interviewed when he attended at the Cardiff premier of “Noah” recently. It was noted that, when he and Cate Blanchett were filming Robin Hood, they were most impressed with Pembrokeshire and likened it to New South Wales. Let’s hope the expansion of the film and television industry in this South Wales will bring some prosperity to the area.

On a less glamorous note I would inform you that I recently underwent foot surgery to rectify a bunion like growth and avoid future corns. However it did give me a brief insight into the world of the disabled. I was pleased that Mermaid Quay has lift access to the upper tier as does the New Theatre. I would say most people are oblivious to your plight and you have to use your crutch quite forcibly to avoid a very painful trampling on a recently operated foot. Also I was found to be partially deaf about 2006 and consequently I have become aware of the plight of the disabled and realise that legislation can indeed improve a disabled person’s life.

Finally I thank the Cardiff and District Law Society for the kind invitation to its Annual Dinner. It really was great fun. 

Gaynor McCann Davies
President of the Confederation

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