Year 2000: further info

You report on the new City Disputes Panel for "year 2000" issues (The Lawyer, 31 March) the day after the computer dating Year 2000 issue arguably reached its greatest public prominence yet with Tony Blair's speech on the issue.

The hardest issue in practice for client users of IT has been the inability to extract statements or responses to questionnaires from suppliers on whether their systems/products are compliant in time to ensure that the client systems themselves can be put in order.

A useful tactic in seeking to ensure a response where a defect could cause physical injury (such as where an oil tanker, nuclear plant or factory processing plant may break down) is to use health and safety legislation which may impose an obligation to respond.

The flood of litigation does not yet appear to have started in the UK.

Most clients are keener to correct the fault for business reasons.

However, they should reserve their legal position before bearing costs for which they may not be legally responsible.

This month two legal books on the topic have been published: mine, Year 2000; Law and Liability, published by Sweet & Maxwell; and Halberstam Elias' Countdown to 2000, published by Butterworths.

Susan Singleton