The Court of Appeal has adjourned delivering judgment on the lord chancellor's criminal legal aid reforms until Wednesday. The case had originally been listed for this morning.
The Law Society, London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association and Criminal Law Solicitors' Association are appealing the High Court's decision to clear the introduction of Chris Grayling's two-tier contracts for criminal legal aid.
An injunction suspending the tender process for duty contracts is in place until judgment is given.
However, even if the court backs the government on Wednesday, election 'purdah' begins on 30 March. Between the dissolution of parliament and the election, The Cabinet Manual states that it is customary for ministers 'to observe discretion initiating any action of a continuing or long-term character'.
The Labour party has said that it would abandon the contracts if elected.
On Tuesday, justice minister Shailesh Vara was asked by Conservative MP David Mowat whether he would proceed, subject to the Court of Appeal's decision, 'in this parliament' with a tender process.
Vara said it was 'our intention to continue the tender that is currently subject to an injunction as soon as possible'.
Should the tender process resume next week, firms would be working on their bids during election purdah and the deadline for submitting bids would be only days before the general election.