SOLICITORS branded proposed legal aid reforms "a risk to our justice system" as they prepare for fresh talks with the Justice Secretary.

The Law Society of Scotland has agreed to organise a meeting between the country's law faculties and Kenny McAskill following unanimous support for strike action among defence solicitors. The meeting is likely to take place early next week.

The Scottish Government is proposing to lower the threshold for legal aid so that someone with £68 per week of disposable income would be forced pay towards the cost of their defence, with solicitors expected to collect their fees from clients.

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On Tuesday, defence lawyers at sheriff courts in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paisley refused to work in protest at the changes.

Austin Lafferty, president of the Law Society, said: "Solicitors fear the Scottish Government's proposals are regressive, unworkable, unfair and risk undermining these fundamental principles. As the people who work at the coal face of our justice system, they should be listened to."

Mr MacAskill said he welcomed the opportunity for "face to face" talks with representatives next week.