Solicitors and barristers have staged a walkout this morning causing disruption to Gloucestershire’s courts.
It is the first time they have withdrawn their services in protest of government plans to slash legal aid fees by up to 30 per cent.
No defending lawyers were present at Gloucester Crown Court this morning and Gloucester Magistrates’ Court was shut.
Stroud and Cheltenham magistrates courts are said to be running as normal.
They have already seen a 40 per cent decrease in the funding of criminal cases since 1997.
Lawyers are warning that if the Ministry of Justice continues to make cuts it will lead to lower quality legal representation, miscarriages of justices and more criminals walking free from court.
They argue that no other public sector has been subjected to such swingeing cuts.
The Criminal Bar Association said the unprecedented action came with anger at "boiling point".
Nigel Lithman QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: "A line has to be drawn in the sand before it's too late. The cuts pose the most serious threat to the British legal system in more than 400 years.
"The government says it is tough on crime, but is stripping the criminal justice system of anyone able to adequately prosecute serious criminals or defend those falsely accused.
"We merely seek a pay freeze. What could be more reasonable than that? I have offered to engage with the Lord Chancellor as to how to make savings across the system."