JUDGES at Bournemouth Crown Court have been forced to delay hearings as the barristers' strike rumbles on.

As reported in the Daily Echo, court proceedings across the country have faced disruption as many lawyers refuse to take on cases from April 1.

On Friday. a sentencing hearing for two men charged with committing grievous bodily harm without intent was adjourned as one was unrepresented.

The trial of another defendant, which was due to begin on June 13, has been put out after his solicitors were unable to find a barrister to take the case. The man had been told he could represent himself or wait for the strike to end.

Judge Richard Onslow told the defendant, who appeared via prison video link: "You candidly explain you might lose your temper, which won't be any help at all."

The man replied: "I'm literate, but I don't have adequate legal skills to represent myself fairly."

Judge Onslow said the strike may well end in the coming days, but said the trial must be delayed in the meantime.

"The barristers are quite probably going to be back at work soon," the judge added.

"I know your solicitors have looked far and wide to try and find you a barrister."

Another man charged with perverting the course of justice also chose not to enter pleas because he wasn't represented. Judge Onslow warned him he could face a prison sentence if convicted.

The man replied: "I do want to get on with it." However, he said he felt unable to proceed without a barrister present.

The Criminal Bar Association warned earlier this year that prisons, courts, the police and probation services are “underfunded and in chaos”.

Chair Angela Rafferty QC said “relentless cuts” have resulted in “near collapse” of the justice system.

“You cannot have a national asset and treat it like this,” she added.

She said under-funding means cases are not being properly investigated by the police and CPS, there is uncertainty and delay at court and “unnecessary distress” for witnesses, victims and defendants.

“Meanwhile the poor and vulnerable in society are being denied access to justice,” she added.

“The system is desperate, it cannot endure any more cuts.”