Laptop of the judges

Lord Justice Phillips uses a Siemens Nixdorf Scenic 4NC, and a Canon bubble jet printer, supplied by the Lord Chancellor's Department, and has had this equipment for about four years.

The laptop has mainly been used on the Bench,

either for the judge to take notes of proceedings, or for the installation of courtroom software such as LiveNote.

This program, used in the Maxwell trial, allows real time transcription and enables the judge to mark, annotate, and make his own notes on the transcript during the course of the trial.

The main advantage of the laptop in court is that when used in conjunction with the installation of a real-time transcription system, it saves the court's time.

Since Phillips LJ came to the Court of Appeal, the laptop is used mainly for retrieval of information from law conferences on LIX.

He says he is satisfied with the laptop but has no control over any change made by the LCD.

With wholesale computerisation of the civil justice system at the centre of Lord Woolf's proposals for access to justice, training is "absolutely crucial".

As a result of a 1993 pilot study, which looked at judge's requirements for laptops, the £1.7 million Project Judith (IT for the judiciary) now means almost 320 judges have laptops with email capacity, enabling them to communicate with each other and the LCD. And there are another 150 judges awaiting theirs.