A second Victorian Supreme Court trial has been postponed because of Legal Aid cost cutting and a judge has warned more trials will be affected.

The murder trial was postponed on Monday after Justice Terry Forrest found the accused man would be unable to receive a fair trial unless he had an instructing solicitor for the whole trial.

Justice Forrest said there would be an "inequity of arms" between the resources of the prosecution and the accused man if the trial proceeded.

He said the trial was a two-person case and no matter how brilliant the barrister was, he needed an instructing solicitor.

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) introduced a policy last month of only funding an instructing solicitor for two half-days of a trial.

Another serious criminal trial was postponed on Friday due to the Legal Aid policy.

Justice Forrest said some trials would still be able to go ahead.

"There will be other criminal trials where no amount of case management strategies can ensure that the applicant will receive a fair trial in the absence of an instructing solicitor," he said.

"These trials should not be commenced until the unfairness is cured.

"If I am correct, the unfortunate effect of VLA's cost constraints is that many criminal trials will be postponed for as long as the cost-cutting protocol survives.

"This is incompatible with the proper, timely and just administration of criminal justice."

Justice Forrest has stayed the murder trial indefinitely.

 

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