Karen Todner is right to be concerned for the future of publicly funded criminal defence firms.

My firm recently represented a 13-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of murder. A qualified solicitor spent nine hours and 42 minutes on a Friday evening and Saturday advising him, with a total travel time of two hours 24 minutes. Four separate attendances were required.

The stakes could not be higher and the boy, at just 13, was vulnerable. He also happened to be innocent and was not charged. The fee for this work? £224.19. That works out at just £18.52 an hour. Setting aside the loss made by the firm (the overtime payments exceed the fee) this is an appallingly low rate of remuneration for such a serious charge and nothing short of scandalous.

Andrew Bishop, Bishop & Light, Hove