Here is a suggestion to lighten a dark winter’s day – should the fees for swearing an affidavit or administering a statutory declaration be increased? The fee of £5 was last increased in 1993 and should be almost doubled now to take account of inflation at the very least.

There are fewer county offices around now to do it for free so it should be an area we can make some money from. The fee represents a reward for the time involved in trying to find the office bible and then the office rubber stamp. There is also an element of risk involved when you are asked to append your name to a grubby piece of paper brought in by a complete stranger.

Swearing an affidavit was one of the rites of passage for young lawyers when they qualified. It was always a reason to keep in with the office receptionist who jealously allocated ‘swears’. Of course ‘popping out to swear’ or asking at a solicitors’ firm if there was ‘anyone in to swear at?’ was an endless source of juvenile humour. It was a way of earning a few pounds which somehow rarely showed up in the firm’s accounts.

Five pounds will get you not much more than a coffee now, not something to keep body and soul together. For many legal aid lawyers, it is the only time they get something to eat. So come on, let us get the fee increased.

David Pickup, Pickup and Scott, Aylesbury