Recently I received from the Scottish Legal Aid Board one of those irritating emails addressing me as “Hi Branislav” from somebody I don’t think I have ever met in my life.

Included in it was a piece expressing concerns about the “methodology, analysis and underlying data” (whatever this last means) in the Law Society of Scotland’s Financial Health Report.

In the same email there was notification that the Board was about to undertake what it describes as research with people who have been represented by the PDSO. It would appear that they propose to carry out a postal survey amongst such people. Such a method of selecting a representative sample is completely useless. Whether it is a misuse of the personal data which the Board holds is another matter.

The question I would ask is what the costs of this exercise are likely to be and how the Board can justify the use of public funds for such an exercise. I think anecdotal evidence suggests that the PDSO is a more costly method of providing criminal legal services than private firms. This is not a criticism of the PDSO but merely recognition of the desperate condition of the criminal defence section of the legal profession.

This whole exercise by the Board would seem to justify in every detail in its own case the unfounded criticism it makes of the Society’s survey.

Branislav Sudjic, Black & Guild, Kirkcaldy