The Law Society has secured two face-to-face meetings between criminal legal aid practitioners and justice secretary Chris Grayling to discuss government proposals for price-competitive tendering (PCT) and other contentious issues - the first such meetings of this kind.

As the Gazette reported on Monday, most leading criminal legal aid firms support a boycott of the controversial PCT scheme.

The first meeting is to take place next week and will be for 25 invited practitioners, including key figures from a spectrum of firms, and members of the Law Society’s criminal law committee and other representative bodies.

The second meeting - scheduled for two weeks time - is for 25 nominated local Society representatives. Both meetings will be in central London.

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said that practitioners are at the ‘front line’ of the legal aid cuts and best-placed to comment on the proposals.

‘We hope that after hearing from those at the very heart of a system that ensures access to justice, the justice secretary will take appropriate action,’ she said.