The Criminal Bar Association is seeking views from its members on what text should be consulted during criminal trials, following a controversial change last year which has caused ‘inconsistency and uncertainty’.

In July last year, the judiciary confirmed that Blackstone’s Criminal Practice had replaced Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice as the standard text in criminal courts.

The decision angered some practitioners who were used to Archbold.

In a weekly message posted yesterday, association chair Angela Rafferty said the time had come to decide which court book to buy, which is ’a huge expense’.

‘Many of our members have expressed concern that the change of official text was brought in quite suddenly and with little thought for those who use these books every day,’ she said.

She added that practitioners had described how in many cases those in court are turning to different books as references for arguments – in writing and orally. ’There appears to be inconsistency and uncertainty. This is having a real impact,’ Rafferty added.

The CBA executive committee asking members which book they prefer before ‘considering its position further’. The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association will also seek members' views.

Archbold’s text has been in publication since 1822 and was first written by John Frederick Archbold. Blackstone’s was first published in 1991 by Blackstone Press, now a subsidiary of OUP.

HM Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has been contacted for comment.