BIOMED-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for clonality analysis of immunoglobulin (IG) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangements were evaluated in routine haematopathological practice where paraffin-embedded tissues constitute the majority of specimens. One hundred and twenty-five fresh/frozen and 316 paraffin specimens were analysed for DNA quality and clonality. Seventy-nine per cent of paraffin specimens yielded PCR products of over 300 bp. These specimens and all fresh/frozen specimens were analysed with the complete set of BIOMED-2 reactions for IG (8 reactions) and/or TCR (6 reactions) gene rearrangements. The rate of detection of clonality was 96% in mature B-cell neoplasms and 98% in mature T-cell neoplasms and there were no significant differences in these rates between paraffin and fresh/frozen specimens. As the value of sole use of any individual BIOMED-2 reaction in clonality detection was limited, we assessed combinations of reactions that gave the greatest sensitivity with fewest reactions and were applicable for both fresh/frozen and paraffin specimens. For IG gene rearrangements, three reactions combining one targeting the IG heavy chain framework-2 region and two targeting the IG kappa locus achieved a 91% detection rate. For TCR gene rearrangements, the two TCR gamma reactions gave a 94% detection rate. We therefore recommend this strategy as the first-line assays for routine B- and T-cell clonality analysis in diagnostic haematopathology.