Form-filling folly

Write to: The Editor, The Lawyer, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX, fax 0171 734 0534, e-mail, DX44700 Soho Square

The article by Professor Christie Davies, "The great legal aid franchising fraud" (The Lawyer, 2 December), touches upon the failing not only of franchising by the Legal Aid Board but of any system of kite marking that I have seen. None of them address the quality of the advice given.

Some while ago I saw a five-page letter to a builder's labourer from a solicitors' conveyancing department telling their client all about the property he was going to buy from the local authority. It was a beautifully written letter from a lawyer's point of view, a High Court judge would have said, very fairly, that the solicitors had set out in great detail all that they should in writing to the client. It would have scored full marks on any monitoring test. But the client hardly understood one word of the letter because the writer of that letter, who knew what his client did because the papers disclosed that, had failed to recognise the need to ensure that the letter was written in language the client could understand.

What is the good of that? What monitoring or franchise system will show up that sort of failing?

All these things need to be looked at again so that the client gets a proper service rather than some franchising rules have apparently been complied with.

Gerald Funnell

Funnell & Perring

Hastings, East Sussex.