More than half of Croydon's courtrooms were empty today as lawyers across the country went on strike in protest at cuts to legal aid. 

Crown court trials ground to halt and hearings were were running in only five of Croydon Magistrates' Court's 14 courtrooms this morning amid the second walkout this year. 

The industrial action was in response to Government plans, officially unveiled last week, to save £220m from the £2bn legal aid bill by slashing fees for barristers and solicitors.

Thousands of lawyers were expected to take part across the UK in the all-day strike, dubbed 'Grayling Day' after justice secretary Chris Grayling.

The reforms, which the Government insisted are needed to save money, include proposals that would see prisoners' access to legal aid limited and a reduction in fees paid by taxpayers to criminal solicitors and barriers for advocacy.

But Nigel Lithman QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, said: "If these cuts are not addressed, then the British justice system, which is held in such high esteem around the world, will cease to exist as we know it and the British public can no longer expect true justice to be delivered."

The Justice Alliance, a group of legal organisations, campaigners and charities, said ordinary people would be denied justice if the cuts went ahead.