Criminal solicitors in Cardiff have said they are willing to decline new legal aid cases from next week in protest against fee cuts and new contracts.

The decision follows yesterday’s unanimous vote by barristers and solicitors in Merseyside to decline any legal aid work under the rates introduced on Wednesday 1 July.

Practitioners said that ‘a large number of Cardiff criminal solicitors met today to canvass their firms’ position on the impact of the impending further cuts to criminal legal aid and dual contracts. All of those present were in favour of taking effective individual action to protest against the reduction in criminal legal aid fees and dual contracts’.

The action proposed was to decline all new legal aid cases with immediate effect from 1 July. There was agreement that action would be effective only with support on a local and national level.

A wider meeting to include solicitors from the whole of the South Wales area, Gwent and the bar, as well as solicitors and members of the bar practising in West, Mid and North Wales will take place on Tuesday 30 June at 5pm in the foyer of Cardiff Crown Court (pictured).

Sarah Grace, of Cardiff firm Morgans Criminal Law, said: ‘The tone of today’s meeting was very positive and it was agreed that drastic action in respect of these devastating fee cuts was necessary as the reductions render the work simply unviable.’