The latest court hearing for the captain of migrant rescue ship Sea Watch, Carola Rackete, on charges of people smuggling and resisting the authorities has been postponed until July 18 because of a strike by Italian defence lawyers.

Rackete was due to appear in court on Tuesday after she sailed the German charity-operated vessel past a blockade and into port in Lampedusa last month with dozens of rescued migrants on board, prompting her arrest.

Her lawyers have decided to join a nationwide strike by criminal defence lawyers in protest at justice reforms, one of her lawyers told AFP. 

German national Rackete, 31, was arrested after defying the blockade imposed by far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini but a judge subsequently ordered her freed, saying she had been acting to save lives, a decision which sparked Salvini's ire.

She still faces charges of helping people smugglers and resisting the authorities after forcing her way past Italian customs vessels.