Stephen Farry said: “I am deeply disappointed at the actions of these lawyers. What sort of message does this send out at this time of austerity that they are not prepared to take their share of the burden or show the same flexibility as others.
“Legal aid costs for Crown Court defence have tripled in recent years. Last year, legal aid cost £104m against a planned budget of £85m. These fees were simply unacceptable and unsustainable.
“We now have a specific Northern Ireland system which is 20% more generous to lawyers than the system in England and Wales.
“These changes to legal aid fees will not mean any restrictions on access to justice. The key issue is that David Ford as Minister could not afford to keep paying lawyers what they want.”