Woolf book chaos angers solicitors

THE WOOLF reform “brown book” is this week back on the shelves of the Stationery Office following anger as solicitors found stocks sold out.

The long-awaited Civil Procedure Rules were published on 28 January. However, within days, callers to the Stationery Office – which publishes the u250 tome – were told stocks had run out as lawyers around the country scrambled get copies.

In the week following the launch, the office's media spokesmen insisted all orders were being met within a few days, while office staff had a different story to tell.

Following solicitors' complaints, The Lawyer called the office three times and each time was told there were no copies available.

Stationery Office communications manager Ed Southon says: “We haven't had stock for a couple of days.” However, he claims new books are arriving every day and there is no delay in meeting demand. “We haven't sold out of the initial print run of 5,000 yet.”

The Lord Chancellor's spokesman comments: “The plan is for a few more thousand to be published within the next few weeks.”

The Lord Chancellors Department says the book can be downloaded from its internet site, but that demand over the first weekend was so great that it was “over-subscribed” and had to be moved to a new server on the Monday following the launch.

Attacking the shortage, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers vice-president Frances McCarthy says: “The time frame is very short anyway.”