A national criminal legal aid firm today announced a merger with one its rivals and predicted it could be the ‘first of many’.

Tuckers, one of the biggest legal aid firms in the country with £8.27m funding in 2011/12, confirmed it will join forces with Kent firm Robin Murray & Co with immediate effect.

Each firm will retain its own brand and continue in its current form under existing management, but they will share resources and back office functions to lower the costs of practice.

Announcing the news on Twitter, senior partner Franklin Sinclair said: ‘Very pleased to announce that Tuckers have merged with Robin Murray & Co and I can welcome five new partners!’

He later added: ‘Tuckers and Robin Murray join together. Hopefully the first of many similar mergers. Is this the future?’

Sinclair has previously suggested that criminal legal aid can sustain a maximum of 300 firms rather than the current 1,600 in the sector.

In a statement, Tuckers said the firm had to ‘face up’ to proposed cuts to criminal legal aid, which have been subject to a government consultation. It added the deal will allow for increased digitisation of the service at the same time as managing declining revenues through falling volumes and cuts to fees.

Richard Atkinson (pictured), managing partner of Robin Murray & Co said: ‘In these very challenging times it makes sense to seek to benefit from pooled resources.

‘This deal allows us to maintain a high degree of independence and to directly benefit from the success of the business whilst drawing strength from being part of a major organisation with all of its strengths and capabilities.’

Established in 1980, Tuckers has more than 150 lawyers and 10 offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Robin Murray & Co has its headquarters in Chatham but also has offices in Dartford, Rainham and Swanley.

Both firms have been involved in talks with the government about its planned criminal legal aid reforms, with representatives of each among those meeting with justice secretary Chris Grayling back in May.