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A Short History of Sweet & Maxwell and GEE Publishing

2000+ | 1990s | 1980s | 1970s-1900 | 1800s

Launch of the Consult GEE online service - the definitive guide to understanding the compliance issues facing today's businesses.

The acquisition of Lawtel adds to Sweet & Maxwell's family of complementary online brands. Lawtel offers current awareness and other legal services designed to allow lawyers to keep in touch with the latest developments at their desktops. It is widely used by individual practitioners at the bar, in law firms, in corporations and in the public sector.

Sweet & Maxwell merges with the Thomson-owned GEE Publishing to form one of the UK's leading legal & regulatory publishers. The GEE brand is retained for regulatory products.

Intensive investment of technological expertise by Thomson results in the launch of Westlaw UK and Localaw UK online services. Westlaw UK becomes the UK's only service offering full integration of cases, legislation, current awareness, journals and commentary on one platform - including many of Sweet & Maxwell's renowned analytical works such as Archbold, Palmer, Woodfall and The White Book. Localaw UK provides online access to authoritative explanations of local government law and practice, with daily current awareness updates and weekly digests with analysis. Sweet & Maxwell acquires New Law Online - the premier law reporting service - from CCH.

GEE's commitment to new technology and publishing innovation is reflected in launch of Safety-Now, the first of the online "Now" services.

Sweet & Maxwell celebrates its bi-centenary. The highlight was a Dinner at the Guildhall in the City of London. Among the 600 or so guests were solicitors, barristers, judges, Professors and law lecturers - many of them Sweet & Maxwell authors - as well as representatives of the Maxwell family. Speaking at the Dinner were Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls and Guest of Honour, Mike Boswood, Chair of Sweet & Maxwell, and Dick Harrington, CEO of parent company The Thomson Corporation.

Landlord & Tenant Service published on CD ROM, the first of nearly 40 titles that go on to comprise the Sweet & Maxwell Connections series. FT Law & Tax acquired by Sweet & Maxwell from Pearson. Its list of generalist, high street solicitor orientated titles had been a Sweet & Maxwell target since the late 1970s, when it was still the publishing business of the Solicitors' Law Stationery Society.

Launch of the GEE FactFinder service.

IRA bomb explodes outside offices in London's Docklands - Sweet & Maxwell relocate to current address at Avenue Road, Swiss Cottage, London.

First CD-ROM published: The Supreme Court Practice.

Sweet & Maxwell acquires Legal Information Resources (LIR), based in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. LIR had been founded by law librarians to assist legal researchers in tracking articles and key information. This led the company to greater development and application of computer technologies and the importance of standard authority files and taxonomy. This in turn made LIR a perfect fit for Sweet & Maxwell's ambitions in this area, highlighted by the transfer of the Current Law publishing process to Yorkshire.

Brehon Publishing and The Round Hall Press acquired and merged to form Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell in Dublin.

ESC Publishing acquired by Sweet & Maxwell, bringing the European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR) and a number of intellectual property and competition law titles to the lists.

Associated Book Publishers acquired by The Thomson Corporation.

European Law Centre joins Sweet & Maxwell from GEE, bringing with it such titles as the Common Market Law Reports.

First moves into digital publishing as Precedents are produced on disk.

GEE launches its popular programme of seminars and training courses aimed at company secretaries, payroll managers, finance directors and those involved in employment law.

GEE is acquired by the Thomson Corporation. This accelerates the policy of diversification begun in the previous decade. The Accountant is disposed of and the publication begins of information services covering all areas of business administration, company finance, legal practice, health and safety concerns, and personnel and payroll matters.

Sweet & Maxwell joins the Associated Book Publishers Ltd (ABP) group with Methuen, Chapman & Hall and Eyre & Spottiswoode.

Sweet & Maxwell acquires W.Green, the Scottish Law Publisher.

Launch of the prestigious Accountant Annual Awards for the best-presented set of company accounts. The event was usually held in Mansion House and featured a presentation by the Lord Mayor.

The Criminal Law Review first published.

Stevens & Sons merges with Sweet & Maxwell - 61 years after first refusing to do so. Palmer's Company Law and Treitel on Contract are now added to the list.

The Encyclopedia of Planning and Compensation first published, beginning a period of rapid expansion in the publication of looseleaf subscription titles.

Current Law launched.

The third edition of the Encyclopedia of the Laws of England is destroyed by enemy action during the Blitz on London during the Second World War. Paper stock and manuscript copy were all destroyed, and publication abandoned.

Lionel Gee succeeds his father Robert and expands the publishing business in order to better reflect the concerns of accountants in the light of increased tax burdens and the drive to greater industrial efficiency.

Sweet & Maxwell take shares in Carswell in the United States, who thereupon become the sole agent for North America.

A substantial interest is bought in the Law Book Company in Australia.

Criminal Appeal Reports appear.

Palmer's Company Law first published by Stevens & Sons.

Sweet & Maxwell started the publication of the Encyclopaedia of the Laws of England, the first modern work of its kind.

Sweet and Maxwell merge. Stevens & Sons refuses to join.

Law Quarterly Review first published.

The White Book commences publication as The Annual Chancery Practice.

Robert Gee succeeds his brother. The Company diversifies into translation services, opens a legal and business bookshop, and operates a press to print office stationery.

Launch of the Accountant Diary.

Creation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Alfred William Gee founds The Accountant to reflect the interests of the accountancy profession. Chief among his concerns is that a Royal Charter is granted a professional society, thus deflecting the contempt of solicitors, with whom accountants were often in competition.

The first Maxwell business is established in Melbourne, Australia. This was to merge eventually into the Law Book Company.

Arnould on Marine Insurance and other titles acquired on the collapse of Benning & Co.

Alexander Maxwell granted a Royal Warrant as Law Bookseller in Ordinary to King William IV.

Byles on Bills of Exchange (now in its 27th edition) first published.

First edition of Chitty on Contracts (now in its 28th edition) appears.

First edition of Archbold's Criminal Pleadings - still the most popular and cited publication for criminal work - is published.

The Associated Law Booksellers formed, including the businesses of Sweet, Maxwell and Stevens & Sons.

Stevens & Sons started in business.

First publication of Woodfall on Landlord and Tenant - Sweet & Maxwell's oldest title still in print.

Alexander Maxwell commences as a bookseller and auctioneer in Fetter Lane, London, initially specialising in religious books.

Stephen Sweet begins trading as a law bookseller. Based in Chancery Lane, London, his first published work was Parker's Reports of Cases in the Court of Exchequer (1800).