NORTHERN Ireland practitioners will be able to access full law reports later this year for the first time in five years.
The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLRNI) ceased to produce twice-yearly annotated and edited judgments as full reports in 1991.
At the end of 1993, it stopped producing its 10-per-year "blue books" - bulletins of verbatim judgments with catchwords - despite subscribers having paid for the full year.
The non-profit making, voluntary ICLRNI is believed to have had difficulties with the lengthy editing and production processes involved in compiling the reports and bulletins.
As a result, Northern Ireland lawyers had no access to formal court reports of any kind and from 1993 were forced to photocopy verbatim judgments from the Bar Library.
The ICLRNI has now awarded a contract to Butterworths to publish reports and bulletins. Butterworths aims to publish volumes for 1992 and 1993 by June this year. By the end of 1996, it is expected that reports for 1994 and possibly 1995 will be completed. The ICLRNI will continue to sit once a month to decide which judgments should be used.