Your article on barristers' fears about Conditional Fee Agreements (The Lawyer 29 March) suggests that "if their income is riding on the outcome of cases, barristers will not be objective in the advice they give". So what's new?
Under the old legal aid system which is now being dismantled, barristers' incomes were also dependent on the advice they gave. An optimistic assessment of success meant the cases would run for longer and the barrister would earn more money – hence the large number of over-optimistic counsels' opinions, particularly in medical negligence cases. This is turn cost doctors and health authorities large sums of money in fighting unmeritorious cases, which would otherwise have been spent on patient care. If barristers are going to be more cautious and realistic in their advice, this must surely be an improvement.
Dr Peter Gray, doctor and barrister, Newnham, Kent