Abstract Batch-injection analysis exhibits the advantages of rapid and simple electroanalysis of microlitre samples. Nafion-coated mercury thin film electrodes have been evaluated for use in batch-injection analysis with anodic stripping voltammetry (BIA-ASV). The advantages of Nafion-coated electrodes in reducing electrode contamination by components of complex matrices are combined with the analysis of small microlitre sample volumes. The measurement of traces of lead and cadmium is used to illustrate the approach. An optimised procedure for formation of Nafion-coated mercury thin film electrodes is evolved. The relative sensitivity for BIA-ASV at electrodes with and without Nafion coatings is 0.9 and 0.8 for cadmium and lead respectively; detection limits are 2 × 10 −9 M and 4 × 10 −9 M. Studies were done concerning the influence of surfactants and their effect was found to be much less with the Nafion film coating. Applications to real environmental samples are demonstrated.