Sir - Lord Falconer suggests that the solution to the problems of a fixed legal aid budget is to use fixed fees (News, July 6).
This Government introduced measures to put previous convictions before juries and to seize assets alleged to be the proceeds of crime, which have resulted in more hearings. The police get good results by using computer analysis, CCTV footage and DNA testing, but this has a knock-on effect on the amount of work needed on behalf of defendants. New processes for charging suspects often require two visits to the police station instead of disposing of the matter in one. Any business that had agreed to a fixed fee for such cases five years ago would now be bankrupt.
The solution to the problems of a fixed legal aid budget is to freeze the criminal justice system. Since that is neither possible nor desirable, the legal aid budget must be made flexible enough to cope with the additional demands this Government chooses to place on it.
Richard Miller, Director, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, London SW1