The legal system will grind to a halt if trials are delayed, pending a landmark ruling on the validity of the provisional legislature, a judge warned yesterday. Deputy Judge Brian de Souza said the consensus among judges seemed to forge ahead while awaiting the challenge before the Court of Appeal at the end of the month. A trial presided over by Judge de Souza became the second to be held up by claims that the Provisional Legislative Council was unlawful and had failed to properly adopt laws existing before the handover. The judge adjourned the drugs case until today so defence lawyers could consider whether to apply for charges to be dropped due to what he called the 'legal vacuum'. But he thought it better for cases to proceed while awaiting the decision. Judge de Souza said: 'Everything is touch and go, depending on the outcome.' If more prosecutions were adjourned 'the whole system would come to a grinding halt', he added. The claims which threaten chaos were raised by defence lawyers in a graft trial on Monday. An application for the issue to be decided by the Court of Appeal was granted by the judge in that case. Richard Wong, defending in the drugs case, said he wished to consult his client before deciding whether to raise the same arguments. Prosecutor Niall Stirling said he would welcome an adjournment to consult with senior government lawyers to ensure he was 'not stepping out of line with official policy'. Judge de Souza said it was important to strike a balance between ensuring a speedy trial and securing justice. A murder trial defence lawyer raised the issue but did not ask for an adjournment. Other Court of First Instance trials continued while awaiting the hearing, set for July 29.