New panel ready for “Year 2000' disputes

The City Disputes Panel (CPD) has formed a distinguished “Year 2000” panel to deal with the expected flood of disputes over millennium bug problems.

It has assembled six prominent legal and business brains to act as tribunal chairmen. They are: Lord Mustill, Sir Brian Neill, Sir Christopher Staughton, Sir John Balcombe, Sir Iain Glidewell the chair of the Government's current review into the Crown Prosecution Service and VV Veeder QC, the leading international arbitration specialist.

The CPD says all panel members have been trained in “the principal issues in relation to the year 2000 problem”.

The CPD has also set up a year 2000 Web site which will provide immediate reports of relevant decisions in the English courts.

The panel is able to operate in London and Edinburgh and, the CPD says, “is seen by the Bank of England and Scottish Financial Enterprise as an important part of the overall preparations for handling” the millennium bug.

Management consultants and IT lawyers have warned of a flood of litigation when computer systems that have not been programmed to handle the date 2000 cease to function, with companies and public bodies suing software suppliers for damages.

Alastair Clark, executive director of the Bank of England said: “It makes sense to prepare against the possibility that something may go wrong. The CPD's initiative is a welcome contribution to the process.”