A nationwide boycott of legal aid work could be over by the end of the week as practitioner groups prepare to meet the lord chancellor on Thursday.

Thousands of solicitors have been boycotting new legal aid work since 1 July – when a second 8.75% fee cut was introduced. The resolve grew stronger last week after the Criminal Bar Association voted in favour of no new work and ‘no returns’.

The Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, Big Firms Group and CBA will meet Michael Gove on Thursday.

LCCSA president Jonathan Black said: ‘We welcome this invitation and we hope that this might resolve in a stay, temporary or otherwise, of the current action.’

CLSA vice-chair Robin Murray said: ‘We hope the threat to access to justice can be averted and further disruption avoided, and we attend in that spirit.’

The practitioner groups said in a joint statement on Friday that they would ‘work together to persuade the government to suspend the cut, as a matter of urgency, pending a full review’.

Last week the CBA executive committee announced it had put in place a protocol for firms wishing to take action and recommended that this action begin on 27 July.

Solicitors who met after a north-west rally outside Manchester Crown Court (Crown Square) voted overwhelmingly in favour of ‘upping the ante’ over action by potentially withdrawing completely from duty solicitor work. 

A second rally outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.