It is shameful to find barristers – and solicitors – operating in court for meagre returns and sometimes at their own expense. I can do no more than refer to a typical case in the 1960s where, at the conclusion of a plea at quarter sessions, it was the duty of the solicitor to negotiate the barrister’s fee with the clerk of the peace sitting under the judge who marked the brief on the spot.

I agreed a fee of 80 guineas. Calculate that at the rate of inflation since and ask what a barrister on legal aid today would receive for a similar plea. Things must change – and fast.

John Greenwood, retired criminal lawyer, Chippenham, Wilts