From the Editor’s Chair

March 1, 2000

An insert for this issue is a veritable call to arms, lavishly disguised asan invitation to join SCL working groups at the initial launch and planningevent on 27th March. I shall not be tempted by the rhetoric of ‘Ask not whatyou can do for your Society’ but stick to two simple points.

First, SCL can only be as effective as its members make it. What’s more itcan only properly reflect its members’ views when its members involve themselvesin its activities. If it is to increase its influence and broaden itseducational role, it needs more active members – the Officers and Council areholding down full-time jobs and can devote only a limited amount of time to theSociety.

Second, involvement in a working group need not be an overwhelmingcommitment. It is true that the initial meeting is in London and requires timeout but the groups are expected to conduct the great majority of their businessremotely – in e-mail conferences and the like. You can make a difference withrather less effort than might at first appear.

If you do feel strongly about IT law or the application of IT in the law thenthe groups represent an outstanding opportunity to become involved. Take it.

Millennium Doom

January was a bad month for Dome merchants and doom merchants alike. The Y2Kbug did less damage to computer productivity than the flu bug and those of usinvolved (however tangentially) with distributing the warnings and the fearshave suffered silently in the face of cheap gibes.

I confess that I am not at all shame-faced but neither do I entirely endorsethe view that, but for the warnings, there would have been a disaster. It ishealthy to assess the true danger with the benefit of hindsight and thenecessary conclusion must be that the danger was at one time overstated;acknowledging that fact is necessary if future dangers are to be properlyassessed rather than treated as a ritual cry of ‘Wolf’. The later warnings,certainly in these pages, were more restrained as more was known about the truelevel of the threat.

But when we do re-assess the situation, let us acknowledge that it is withthe benefit of hindsight rather than seek to apportion blame. Althoughfrightening sums of money were involved in investigating the problem where norectification was necessary, there were many cases where rectification was vitaland the sums at stake in the event of a disaster make the rectification costslook insignificant. I am reminded of my grandmother forcing me into a vest inearly spring: ‘Better safe than sorry!’