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The Independent Culture
LAWYERS AND other City types should be properly trained before they are let loose on public transport with their fancy mobile phones and laptop computers. The problem, according to Garretts, the law firm associated with accountants Arthur Andersen, is that people who conduct business in public run the risk of legal action for breach of confidentiality. "Working on a laptop may be convenient, but computer screens can be read by other people just as easily as paper documents," says Garretts' Marc Crichard.

Garretts' answer is that all staff who like to treat the train as an extension of the office should first go on a special training course.

IT SPECIALISTS Tarlo Lyons may have over-estimated demand for their Y2K helpline. The firm says it will be offering a "Millennium SOS" service to all their clients during the crucial hours of the date change from 1999 to 2000. "The problems will not be purely technical," warns Nick Arnold, head of IT at the firm. "Journalists are going to be on the look- out for failures and companies must be very careful as to what they say in the press."

Unfortunately, the success of the helpline depends entirely on how many journalists will be bothered to break off their own millennium celebrations in order to go sniffing around for Y2K non-compliance.

THE LORD Chancellor's rush to appoint more High Court judges and stipendiary magistrates may be too little, too late. The recent ruling by the Scottish High Court that temporary sheriffs have been appointed in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights could have implications for all part-time judges in the United Kingdom. In the same way that temporary sheriffs work in private practices, and are partly dependent on the state for their livelihoods, so too are hundreds of deputy district judges and recorders in England and Wales.