A numeric scoring system for the assessment of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy during the neonatal period was tested. The value of the score in predicting neurodevelopmental outcome at 1 y of age was assessed. Forty-five infants who developed hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy after birth were studied prospectively. In addition to the hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy score all but two infants had at least one cranial ultrasound examination. Thirty-five infants were evaluated at 12 months of age by full neurological examination and the Griffiths Scales of Mental Development. Five infants were assessed at an earlier stage, four who died before 6 months of age and one infant who was hospitalized at the time of the 12 month assessment. Twenty-three (58%) of the infants were normal and 17 (42%) were abnormal, 16 with cerebral palsy and one with developmental delay. The hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy score was highly predictive for outcome. The best correlation with outcome was the peak score; a peak score of 15 or higher had a positive predictive value of 92% and a negative predictive value of 82% for abnormal outcome, with a sensitivity and specificity of 71% and 96%, respectively. For the clinician working in areas where sophisticated technology is unavailable this scoring system will be useful for assessment of infants with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and for prognosis of neurodevelopmental outcome.