Updates and/or changes to C-Law

Please note:  C-Law usually uses the year to indicate a version.

C-Law Cashier was the original version of our Windows software. This was changed to C-Law 2000 in the year 2000 and this series of software is now generically referred to as C-Law 2000 series (or 2k series). This includes C-Law Cashier 10 for the year 2010.  Later versions of Cashier from 2010 onwards will use the two digit year (omitting the 20) for the sake of simplicity.

If you see references to the older or other versions of C-Law don't worry. This can still occur in the manual and on some screen displays. And the folder on the hard disk, and any program items, may still refer to C-Law 2000 for purposes of compatibility.  

Changes and the Manual

The new version of C-Law incorporates upgrades and changes and improvements. The manual is not always kept up to date with changes but will hopefully include most things.

This page sets out some of the major changes and improvements so existing users you can keep a check on what might be new or different.


Quick selection area - click on the link below to go straight to the appropriate section:

      2002 to 2005
      2006 to 2009 March
      2009 May

Summary of Changes

Click on the items listed below for a fuller description

2002 to 2005

NEW Simple account selection screen option (like the original C-Law) for keyboard operation

Duplicate user warning system revised for those with networks to help in resolving lock outs

You can now printout client ledger accounts with no entries

You can now printout ledger accounts directly from main screen listing

The Ledger entry screen has larger screen fonts to make it easier to read

Account number separators can include full stops or decimal points

New option for doing a global printout of all nominal accounts added

Support added for backups to be sent to CD's or other removable media

A new backup destination setup screen allows separate places for daily and monthly backups

Important changes to the way in which the monthly backup now has to be done

Interactive help options to take you to the appropriate page in the 'on screen' manual

Entry template and F key selection and use system updated

2006 to 2009 March

Drop down details on ledger entry screen changed to provide user generated lists

Ledger searching provided throughout client and nominal ledger

Graph creation for displays of billing and new work trends provided

Internet messaging and on screen update notification and internet download of the update CD

Daily Tips provided

Monthly report backups provided

Ability to automatically do a daily copy of the data folder to a server or other place

VAT entries now include the rate applied

Itemised Fee Earner bills report incorporated

Work on bugs

(Click on the links to go to the relevant para)



2009 May/Nov additional features


Drop down details facility on nominal ledger entry screen added 
Automated INPUT and OUTPUT VAT entry prompt added to client ledger entry system    
VAT entry wizard added to client ledger entry screen
Transfer entry wizard added to client ledger entry screen
Ledger entry wizard added to nominal ledger screen
Miscellaneous improvements and adjustments
June 2009 improvements and adjustments
October 2009 improvements and adjustments (reconciliation system updated)
November/December 2009 improvements
new code listings
un-archiving archived matters,
new pie charts

lick on the links to go to the relevant para)



2010 version new features


General description 
New code maintenance system and extended CAT and FEE codes
Un-archiving matters
Additional graphic chart analysis
Pie chart for indemnity insurance codes
Increased capacity available for client column entries up to £99M 

(Click on the links to go to the relevant para)

(1) Using C-Law with keystrokes and a simple a/c selection screen

Cashiers who are using C-Law regularly all the time usually prefer to use keystrokes both to select ledger accounts and also for making entries. And they also usually like to use account numbers for making sure that the correct account is being entered on.

This has always been possible by using the "Enter to find" text box but at the request of some users, as from  2005, C-Law introduced the option of using a "simple" account selection screen (rather like our DOS version) which avoids the complication and "fussiness" of the C-Law main screen, and allows keyboard entry of the account number (or name) and thereafter goes to the entry screen and then returns to the selection screen.

This screen makes the selection process very similar to the old DOS version of C-Law - but retains all the benefits of the newer version with the on-screen tool buttons for selecting various cashier functions straightaway (such as reconciliation, or VAT reports, or selecting batch mode) although the drop down menu options are also still available at the head of the screen.

To select the simple mode the user simply holds down Ctrl and presses the S (for simple) key on the main screen. To return to the usual C-Law main screen just press Esc. It's as simple as that!

When an account has been selected the details screen with the account name and matter details is shown for confirmation that the correct name and matter has been chosen. Just simply hit the Enter key again (or press the Space Bar as in DOS C-Law) and the entry screen will be shown straightaway ready for the entry to be made in it.

Or instead of this press the SHIFT key to view the entries (the same key press as in C-Law for DOS) or press P to print out the account entries directly without going via the viewing screen. For those who enter time pressing T calls up the time entry screen.

This keyboard only mode of operation with simple screen and key press prompts may appeal to users who want to keep the regular and daily operation of C-Law for making entries as quick and simple as possible. See more details on the keyboard page of this manual

(2) Printing of Client Ledgers directly

A new radio button has been added in the "mode on selection" box on the main screen "printout of ledger accounts directly".

When this button is selected and you highlight and select any account, the Windows printout dialogue box will be shown and you can click OK and print that ledger account entries directly without having to call up the entries on screen first.

(3) Duplicate user warning messages

For those firms who use C-Law 2004 on more than one computer workstation (albeit on an alternate basis) over a network from common data on a server, there is a possible problem if someone closes down without logging off correctly. This may cause another user to be locked out and not to be able to log on. Previously the message that appeared was rather unhelpful and merely terminated the log on process. Now there is a message which warns of possible duplicated use and also displays the actual name of the computer recorded as using C-Law and preventing log on. This means that any 'lockup' situation can be cured by either going to that computer and logging off C-Law (or sometimes logging on and then off again immediately).

This duplicated user message is essential for your protection to avoid two users logging on simultaneously. The standard C-Law for cashiers is not designed for two simultaneous users. There are other C-Law modules available such as Executive, Inspector, and Partner, which are network aware and which allow simultaneous use over a network with the cashier module.

(4) Displaying and printing zero entry client ledger accounts

Client ledger Accounts with no entries could not previously be selected or printed. This has been changed and such accounts can now be displayed and printed.

(see (2) above as well)

(5) Daily clear option display

The daily clear options screen has been slightly adjusted to try to clarify the option to printout all sheet entries on the same page and to avoid separate sheets being used. This should save paper.

(6) Larger fonts on entry screen

The full screen account entry window now has an expanded account entry area and this allows bigger fonts to be used for the account entry boxes when using the sull screen mode. This will hopefully avoid any concerns about the Windows font being too small to see easily. This should be particularly useful to users when using 1024 by 768 or larger Windows screen mode when the fonts become a bit small..

NB: A hint and reminder to those who find the fonts small in Windows drop down menus and dialogue boxes. These can be made larger by going to the Windows screen settings and selecting a larger font size. Not all computers and/or graphics cards allow this but most do. Note that setting fonts too large can cause display problems so don't overdo it!

(7) Decimal point account separators

A small glitch has come to our notice in the account number selection system which prevented the use of non-hyphen separator characters (eg: the decimal point) when feeding in account numbers where the middle figure of the account number was higher than 5. (For example: 12.6.2 caused an error whereas 12-6-2 worked quite correctly). This has been dealt with so that the decimal point can be used as a separator character without any problem when selecting a valid C-Law account number.

(8) Global Nominal Ledger Printouts

A global print routine has been added to enable all nominal accounts to be printed in full.

This option is available in the 'file' drop down menu item in the nominal account selection window.

(9) Zip compression ratio adjustment on backups to diskette

It is now possible to adjust the zip compression on backups onto diskettes - slow with more compression (takes up less space on the diskette) or faster with less compression.

With data like C-Law data which is always highly compressed it has to be said that changing the setting does not usually make a lot of difference, but the high compression setting can sometimes make longer backups that just go onto two diskettes all fit onto one floppy diskette.

This option will be found on the backup Window under the "Where how to store" menu item and under "Zip Settings"

(10) Viewing old backup data temporarily

This feature has been present in updates since early in 2004 but is worth drawing to your attention.

There is sometimes a need to be able to view old backup data temporarily to look up something in the past - and/or to do a printout from it. But particularly when there are other users logged on to the current data over a network you don't want to disable the current data and restore old data as this would cause mayhem with systems where users make time entries and if nothing else would confusion to other users.

Assuming that the Windows Zip setting is enabled C-Law 2005 can be set up to temporarily uncompress and view data from any backup without disturbing or disabling the current data folder. The current data remains in its usual place and can be used by others and can be simply reverted to.

Other users will be unaware and not interrupted. When viewing a backup in this way the main screen changes to a lurid colour to warn that you are in a temporary inspection only mode. Our excuse for the horrible colour is that we don't want you to forget and start making entries or changes to the old data you are viewing as they will be totally lost and of no effect when you go back to your normal data!

To use this feature go to the Restore window and you will see you have a "VIEW" button as well as a "RESTORE" button. Using the "VIEW" button goes through the same process as a restore but does NOT touch your current data.

The old data can be easily restored by simply closing down and clicking OK to re-enable the current data when you go back in to C-Law.

(11) Defining default backup folders and backups to removable media

From C-Law 2005 onwards you can set up separate destinations for backups - daily or monthly or temporary and you can tell Windows where to send the backup file instead of these defaults if you wish.

When making a backup you need to indicate whether it is a daily backup or a monthly backup. Normally backups you do on a daily basis will be defined as a daily backup. Monthly backups are part of the monthly routine. Monthly and daily backups have slightly different file names to make it possible to see easily which is which.

Important Change to Monthly Backup procedure

Users of previous versions should note that the monthly backup is now done as an integral part of the monthly routine - there is no facility within the monthly routine to omit this integral backup. So you don't do the monthly backups as you used to separately outside the monthly routine - unless of course you want a duplicate for any reason.

For more details you can go to the backup page of the on screen manual or click here

(12)  Use of CD's and removable media for backups

C-Law 2005 and onwards allows for defining backup destinations as being on removable media and the backup routine sends copies of backup files to this media. It is now easy to set up C-Law to send your backups to a Zip drive or a CD or other removable media such as a USB memory stick if you wish.

For more details you can go to the backup page of the on screen manual or click here


(13)  Help buttons to take you to the on screen manual

Buttons or help menu items have been added to many of the screens in the C-Law software which when clicked will take you straight to the appropriate page in the 'on screen' manual. The manual has been revised and updated in many respects.

(14)  F Key Entry Template system re-designed and improved

Users now have the full range of F keys (1-12) on which to store text or templates and the system for storing and retrieving templates has been improved. Text stored as 'text only' can be inserted by use of the F keys into any of the on screen entry fields. The F Key set up is now available from the Cashier Settings on the main screen. It can be called up from the entry screens by pressing Ctrl and F together. Click here to go to the page in the manual

Changes between 2006 and 2009

(15)  Drop Down Ledger Details

The previous system relied on inbuilt details which were it seems clearly often not appropriate or useful. Users can now set up their own drop down lists so that they contain texts that they wish to use regularly or account names or numbers for inter account transfers. Each bank or cash sheet code can have its own indvidual list of suggested or useful details for quick entry. There is a setup screen available from the Cashier Settings menu. . Click here to go to the page in the manual

(16)  Ledger Searches

It became apparent that there was occasionally a need for identifying where a range of entries made on or between certain dates might have been made. For example incorrect transfers might have been made wrongly not using a TR code and it would be ideal to be able to identify on which ledgers such incorrect entries might have been made.  It is now possible to do a complete client or nominal ledger search for entries made between certain dates or incorporating specific text or amounts to assist in tracing such errors.

(17)  Graphs of work trends 


A graph can show in a second what it might take half an hours work to assimilate and work out from lists of figures. Users now have the ability to see billing and new account trends over the past 12 18 or 24 months in an easy to understand graph. Whats more it only takes an instant to generate. There are also pie charts for seeing work category and fee earner participation in totals. 

The graphs and charts can be printed if required.

Having seen the resulting graphs and charts and how easy they make it to see trends and results it is amazing that this feature has not been in C-Law earlier.  If there are 'green shoots' appearing here may be the place to spot it happening!! 

Click here to go to the page in the manual

(18)  Internet Connection available

The internet age is with us and it seems steam age to have to wait to receive update CDs through the post to be able to update the software. Although serious problems with C-Law are thankfully very rare, if there is a problem it is highly important to be able to (a) be notified promptly and (b) get a corrective update installed quickly. Relying on the post is archaic. As from January 2009 users have the ability to let C-Law software go on line automatically and make a quick check for any new update availability and to notify them. Also to check for urgent user information messages and to display these on screen when starting up C-Law.

Those who feel this is 'big brotherish' can be assured that the system we have devised does not send any information outwards and does not identify them to C-Law. On most broadband connections it generally takes less than a second to make the connection and retrieve the necessary data.

Even more important is to be able to download the latest update. C-Law previously attempted a system for downloading updates but it was not fully comprehensive as it could not upgrade all components needed so resort had to be made to update CDs and the download system was abandoned.   

Work and improvements have been carried out on a comprehensive download and updating system and users can, as from early 2009, download the electronic equivalent of the C-law update CD and immediately run it on their computers without having to wait to receive a CD.  This facility is only available to users who have paid for support from C-Law and have a current valid password from C-Law.

Click here to go to the page in the manual

(19)  Daily 'Tips' 

It is apparent that even some experienced users are unaware of the facilities and "tricks" of using C-Law to its best advantage. As from 2009 there is a "tip of the day" screen (which can be disabled) and a long list of "nuggets" distilled from many years of experience of things that users sometimes don't understand or have not appreciated. 

(20)  Backups of monthly reports

An addition has been made to allow backups to be generated of the monthly reports and any deleted archive ledger entries. 

These are NOT included in the standard C-Law backup. They will be lost if the computer is destroyed or stolen. Although the data can in same cases be regenerated from backups and is usually in printed format,  this is inconvenient. So this new backup facility was introduced and can be invoked from the standard backup screen. 

The backups would best be made to a removable USB drive so they can be kept safe somewhere.

There is no automatic way provided to restore such backups. They are however in standard zip files and can thus be unzipped and copied (using Windows xp and above) to a new machine if a computer has to be changed or renewed. In practice as long as an old computer remains available and the complete contents of the C_LAW folder are copied to a new computer these backups should not usually be required.

(21)  Daily automatic copying of data to another place

Many computers are now on a network. C-Law works faster if the data is local to the cashier but this means that the data can become unavailable if the cashier's computer is switched off and can be unavailable to other network users who want to inspect accounts and/or timekeeping data on their local screens using C-Law Inspector.  Moreover many servers now have backup software which is not able to backup data on a cashiers machine. To circumvent this C-Law now has an automatic copy routine which can be easily set up and is invoked on daily closedown to copy the data folder to a network server (or another place). It can also be used to create a copy of  the network data folder elsewhere on the server so that fee earners can inspect this copy without needing to access the main data folder.

(22)  VAT entry now includes VAT rate

The autumn of 2009 saw a flurry of concern over VAT rate changes. (Mind you that was the least of many of our worries) C-Law can of course have the standard rate changed and one off rates can easily be entered when needed, so the rate change caused users no problem as such. However the standard entry that appeared on the ledger did not show the VAT rate. This has now been changed so that the automatically prompted VAT entries now incorporate a reference to the VAT rate applied. This it is hoped will make lives easier around VAT rate change time.

(23)   Fee earner billing reports

As if the analysis and graph facilities are not enough to view bills generated by individual fee earners, there was a demand for a report listing individual bills issued by fee earners between specific dates. This feature has now been provided and is available from the Management section on the Cashier menu.

(24)  Work done to prevent 'grey out' of the in/out buttons

Some users reported occasional situations where the 'in' and 'out' buttons on the ledger entry screen became frozen. The reason for this was not easy to find. Work has been done up to December 2008 to try to prevent this situation arising and it is hoped that this annoying issue is a thing of the past. However if it should recur the workaround is to simply shut down C-Law and restart it.


2009 May additional features



(25)    Drop Down Facility on Nominal Ledger entry screen

A facility was provided in early 2009 for creating your own edited lists of details ie: those you would like to quickly select for each journal code on the drop down details field on the client ledger entry screen (see 15 above). This feature has now been added to the nominal ledger entry screen. The system for using it is exactly as described for client ledger entries - a new menu item on the Nominal Ledger entry screen allows you to gain entry to a screen for setting up your lists of details. This is useful for frequently used details and is specific to each journal code so as to be of most use.

Click here to go to the page in the manual


(26)    Automated Input and Output VAT entries added to client ledger entry screen

It is becoming more frequent for disbursements made for clients to carry VAT. In some cases where the Client is not VAT registered this has been ignored and the bill paid inclusive of VAT and this is the amount that appears in the office column of Client Ledgers and is charged to the client in the bill.  Although perhaps strictly not correct it does not cause any loss or gain to the firm or to HMRC.  However where the client is VAT registered this cannot really be done and in this case the input tax on the disbursement needs to be entered and then output tax entered when the bill is sent to the client. This allows the client to claim it as input tax.

Additionally it is becoming increasingly the norm for commercial firms to provide services on a monthly account basis on which VAT is charged. This means using a control nominal account for the payment of the bill and recording the input tax paid on the whole bill. In the meantime the office column of the client ledger needs to be debited with the partial amount due from the client by journal entry (OT) to the control account. This will be for the net amount less tax but then the client has to be debited with the output tax by a VAT output tax entry.

The necessary entries can be created in C-Law but they are not automated and have to manually calculated and generated for each sum.  This means extra work and the opportunity for mistakes.

As from May 2009 C-Law provides an automated system for generating the necessary VAT entries.  This allows input and/or output tax to be quickly and easily calculated and entered. It also provides automated output tax VAT entries on OT entries made where the amount involved is vatable.
Click here to go to the page in the manual

(27)     VAT entry wizard added to client ledger entry screen

This is provided to enable one off VAT entries not automatically generated to be easily and readily composed on client ledger matters. The wizard allows the user to select the type of VAT entry wanted (eg: to contra an erroneous entry) and then composes the entry for the user and sets up the required entry fields and with the hard work done returns the user to the entry screen to complete making the entry as usual.
Click here to go to the page in the manual

(28)     Transfer wizard added to client ledger entry screen

There are various types of transfer that users need to be able to make on client ledger matters. Not all of them are regularly made and then the issue arises as to how to compose the entry correctly.  The new transfer wizard lists the various transfers that a user might need to make and then prompts for the relevant details and sets up the fields in the ledger entry screen and allows the user to complete the entry. Using this wizard it is now easy to compose the required transfer entries exactly as needed.
Click here to go to the page in the manual

(29)     Ledger entry wizard added to the nominal ledger entry screen

This largely duplicates both the VAT entry wizard and the transfer wizard provided in the client ledger entry screen. (see above) in that it will help the user and demonstrate how to compose transfer and VAT entries and sets up the required fields.

Additionally the wizard provides for automation of the entries needed when quarterly VAT is paid to HMRC and when Petty Cash is drawn from the Bank. This involves the need for matching pairs of entries one to debit office bank and the other to balance off the entry by an opposite entry coded to the appropriate sheet. The generation of the matching pairs has now been automated. Using the wizard makes it easy to generate the required entries and as a bonus it also automatically selects and displays the correct account on which to make the entries!
Click here to go to the page in the manual

(30)     Miscellaneous additions and improvements

The monthly periodic screen now has an additional menu option to allow all the monthly screens to be set up in one go to the basic default settings. These are the settings which most users will wish to have as their basic settings and additional settings can be added as desired on top of these - for each month. If the settings get in a mess this enables a fresh start to be made.

The nominal ledger entry screen Windows drop down details display was sometimes guilty of lingering and not clearing. This has been dealt with.

The rate in VAT entry details was added in autumn 2008. Although it would have been perverse to do so, it was previously possible to manually change the rate displayed to an invalid rate prior to putting the entry through. This did not affect the VAT return (which was correct) but if someone had decided to meddle with a draft entry in this way it could have caused confusion when looking at VAT sheets and ledger details. The VAT rate in the entry is now checked and any discrepancy reported before the draft entry is accepted for display. In this way the rate recorded in the entry should always accurately match the actual rate applied.

The chart section now allows keystrokes - eg: selection by using Enter and Up/down keys and going back a stage with the Esc key.

(31)  2009 June changed/additional features

The No 3 nominal account has always been designated CUSTOMS & EXCISE and was not designed to have its name changed. Changing the name was supposed to be barred because any change leads to VAT report errors. The software was not barring alterations to the name as intended, but rather than correct this to bar alterations as intended, the coding has been amended to allow the No 3 nominal to be named as the user wishes (eg: to HMRC VAT)  without this affecting the VAT report. The number 3 nominal is still the designated ledger for paying VAT (so can't be used for anything else).

(32)  2009 October changed/additional features

Data check updated

The data check now includes an additional check. The summary files of new matters created and bills delivered are checked to ensure that entries appear in correct chronological date order. If any entries are detected out of chronological order the file is sorted into correct date order. Dates should not normally be written to summary files out of order but if this should happen it could mean that graphs and analysis summaries will be truncated unexpectedly or might give inaccurate or misleading information. In the past this could only be dealt with by returning data to C-Law for manual checking and correction. It is now corrected automatically.  Nevertheless if data checks frequently report that a dating error has been found, or that an uncorrectable dating error has occured,  it would be wise to contact C-Law Systems with a data backup as this may indicate a fault condition needing further investigation.

Reconciliation system changes

The Reconciliation sheets now optionally allow the Bank Balance to be inserted before starting reconciliations. If a Bank Balance is entered an additional  "discrepancy"  field appears (in addition to the adjusted balance field as previously) as a further aid to reconciling. This value should reduce to zero when everything has been successfully marked as reconciled..

After printing any reconciliation statement an option is offered to save the printout data as a report for later recall.

There is now a reconciliation reminder on logging on which warns if any reconciliation print has not been done within 5 weeks of the last recorded print date. This can be disabled if required from the log on screen.

There is a 'reconciliation settings' screen accessible from the Cashier/Settings menu which allows sheets to disabled from the reconciliation system if it is not desired to use this system for all, or any, sheet(s). This screen also allows the last statement print date recorded for each sheet to be inspected and changed if so required.

If the reconciliation system is not being used it is essential to disable it so that data is not stored up interminably. This could cause eventual data errors to occur and in any event means that backups will be larger than they need to be. A warning is issued when logging on if any reconciliation sheet data is building up to what appears to be an abnormal size.

Click here to go to the reconciliation page in the manual


(33)  2009 November changed/additional features in C-Law 2010
Category codes, Fee Earner codes, Indemnity Insurance codes and lists of Sources 

The system for displaying and creating and amending work category codes, fee earner codes, indemnity insurance codes and source lists has been changed and improved for 2010. The screen for adding or editing them has been designed afresh and has been made easier to use than the previous screens.  This is entitled  "Code Maintenance" screen in the Cashier Settings menu.

New for 2010 the order in which the various codes or items appear in the listings on screen can be manipulated whenever you wish to achieve a list which suits you and has the most important, or most frequently used, items at the top. This new feature will help in selecting the correct code and speeds up the selection process.

In the case of Work Categories and Fee Earners you are no longer limited to three characters but you can add help text of your own of up to 40 characters in length to explain the purpose or identity of the code. This help text appears in all the screen drop down lists to assist in selecting the correct code.

Click this link to go straight to the Code Maintenance page in the manual


Un-archiving matters

Prior to C-Law 2010 it was not possible to move a matter back from the archive ledger.  It is now possible to move a matter back to the current ledger.  Whilst this is now possible it is not designed to avoid proper care and thought being given before putting matters into the archive ledger as it can only be done on a single ledger account basis and C-Law will close down and need restarting after processing a request. 

The feature is designed for use on the odd occasion when a matter may have become put into the archive ledger by mistake or circumstances change unexpectedly.

Click this link to go straight to the page in this manual

C-Law management charts extended

The management graphs that can be compiled in C-Law include matters by reference to indemnity codes and work sources (as recorded on bills or when opening new accounts). This is in addition to the work categories and fee earners.

Click this link to go to the Chart page in this manual

Indemnity Code report includes optional pie chart showing percentages

An option exists when asking for an indemnity code report to select either a written report or a graphic pie chart of the bills delivered over any desired period for the various indemnity insurance categories. This shows at a glance the extent of each of the codes in billings and shows the percentages of bills for the individual codes in the overall billings for the selected period. This graph is obtained by the Indemnity Code Report. is not accessible from the C-Law Chart screen.
Increased capacity available for high value entries up to £99M

An option exists within C-Law Cashier '10 to update the data structure to allow entries on client column up to £99M   Prior to the conversion being applied there is a  limit of 9.9M.  On some early versions of Cashier '10 the conversion option is given when first starting the software. On later versions the option is not given on startup unless previously requested from an option to be found at the foot of the Cashier menu. This change was made to avoid non cashier users (who may merely be inspecting data) from being able to unintentionally activate a data conversion.

Your data does not have to be converted unless you think you will benefit from the increased capacity. It can be converted at any time. You will however have to re-start C-Law for the conversion option to be displayed and for the conversion to happen.

       Click here for the Main Index