From the Editor’s Chair

June 30, 1998

Readers seeing this issue’s striking cover may well observe that every issueof this magazine is ‘a glimpse into the future’. Peter Cochrane’s SCLlecture of that title and his vision will certainly have left many listenersthinking (probably wrongly) that the particular future he outlines is rather toofar away to worry about. The more workaday future remains more of a workadayworry and the short article on the Courtroom of the Future focuses on some ofthe issues of immediate concern. That particular initiative is now in need ofinput from the SCL membership.

The main article in the last issue, from Lord Justice Brooke on IT and theEnglish Courts, provoked the comment from me that the battle for the greater useof IT in the courts system would have been easier if there had been a strongerdemand from the consumers or court users on the outside. Now those consumers arerequested to help shape future courtroom developments. It is a classic case of‘don’t complain later if you couldn’t be bothered to make a contribution whenthe opportunity was there’.

That there is a new momentum can hardly be denied. We report in this issue onthe IBIS initiative and the Civil Justice IT Strategy Development Group. Sincethe ball is certainly rolling, it is now important to concentrate on itsdirection.

On the IT applications side, the focus is on the beginner and intermediatecomputer skier. We offer further coverage of training and basic strategy. Wealso have two views on the ‘to 98 or not to 98’ debate. Nicholas Woodcontributes a guide to securing domain name registrations – still very much apractical concern as the basic message ‘Do something’ now seems inadequate,and leads only to a ‘Do what?’ response.

For IT lawyers we offer interesting insights into the possession of indecentphotographs on computer and the thorny question of consequential loss. The mainfocus, however, is on international elements, with coverage of the IFCLAConference, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. We hope to cover the impact of theWTO Agreement on telecommunications in the next issue.

It is a bitter-sweet pleasure to report that the article on the WTO Agreementand telecoms is only one of a number of articles which are to be held over untila later issue. I am always keen to include as many good articles as possible andregret postponing publication – but prefer abundance to dearth. It is acompliment to the magazine and to the SCL membership that we can fill thesepages with good quality contributions. Some of the contributions which have beenheld over are available now on the SCL Web site. We hope to develop an increasedsynergy so, for example, academic, technical and detailed articles will be‘trailered’ or part published in the magazine 27and given their full rein on the Web site. If we don’t do it, who will?