Will Woolf's address halt legal Armageddon

Lord Woolf's radical vision of the legal profession in the new millennium is still beset with problems, just nine weeks before his controversial reforms are to be launched.

Practice directions are only being published this week, judges will not be fully trained in the procedures until October and the computers underpinning the reforms will not be ready by the 26 April launch date.

This has brought much wailing and gnashing of teeth from lawyers who, at the end of a century of scant change in the courtroom, warn that legal Armageddon is nigh.

Lord Woolf decided to address the legal profession through The Lawyer and tell his critics to quit whingeing and get on with putting their own house in order.

Dismissing a vocal chorus who say the reforms should be delayed until everyone is fully prepared for their implementation, Lord Woolf argues some lawyers will never be ready.

As architect and builder of these reforms Lord Woolf has a huge amount personally riding on their success.

His real challenge is to draw lawyers away from their valued lengthy courtroom litigation, towards speedy mediation and resolution.

If Lord Woolf can achieve this Herculean task his worthy reforms will have a greater chance of success.