Bahl resigns from Law Society and claims she is victim of 'witch-hunt'

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The Independent Online

Kamlesh Bahl last night resigned as vice-president of the Law Society amid acrimonious claims over her treatment by the solicitors' ruling body, which last week suspended her for bullying.

Ms Bahl said her position was now "untenable" after her lawyers had been told that last week's vote by the Law Society's council to suspend her would be adjourned for seven days. However, the society did vote to suspend her at that meeting. Ms Bahl claimed she had been assured by the Law Society that the suspension vote would be postponed.

Ms Bahl said: "I feel that I have been unfairly treated. Last Thursday [the vote to suspend] was the worst example. By the time I got to the council meeting the vote had taken place. I was told that there would be a motion to adjourn to a meeting which I could attend.

"I believe this matter has gone on long enough. I believe the price I have had to pay for trying to reform the Law Society has been to be labelled a bully. I went in with a mandate for reform and this is what has happened."

Ms Bahl added: "I have been fighting single-handedly against a massive establishment that doesn't want me to be there. I believe I have been treated unfairly throughout this whole episode - it has been a witch hunt.

"It has put me under the most enormous stress. I have had a bereavement in my family, and I have decided this is all that I can take."

A report by Lord Griffiths, a former law lord who was asked by the society to investigate the bullying claims, was finalised this month.

It found Ms Bahl to have used "bullying tactics" and to have "usurped" the role of the secretary general, Jane Betts, the head of Law Society staff. The confidential report named five members of staff whose versions of events was preferred by the Griffiths tribunal to that of Ms Bahl.

Ms Bahl said that the last four months had brought enormous stress on her family. "I don't believe I can ever be treated fairly by the Law Society, and that makes me feel very sad." She said her immediate plan was to take holiday.

Ms Bahl said she would be continuing with her claim for sex and race discrimination against the Law Society. She claims that her "face did not fit" and that her treatment was partly because of her "ethnicity and gender".

The Law Society said that this was a "serious allegation" which it strongly denied, and it would vigorously contest her legal action.

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