SCL is very pleased to announce that its work on a new adjudication procedure for the resolution of technology disputes in England & Wales is almost complete. This follows considerable work by a small group of SCL members (whose names and details appear at the end of this article) over the past two years.
- Three-month procedure for “technology” disputes – meaning any dispute arising from a contract for the provision of tech-related goods and services including software development contracts, outsourcing arrangements, systems integration contracts, IT consultancy contracts, software licensing agreements, blockchain/smart contracts and cloud computing contracts.
- No restriction on the size or scope of tech disputes that may be referred.
- A pre-selected panel of adjudicators (set up and maintained by SCL) from which an adjudicator may be chosen for individual adjudications.
- All adjudicators must satisfy the SCL Adjudication Eligibility Criteria (to be published shortly).
- Adjudicators may be lawyers or (non-lawyer) IT specialists from the tech industry.
- The adjudicator’s decision or Award is provisionally binding meaning the parties may reopen the dispute in subsequent litigation or arbitration i.e. the consequences are the same as in statutory construction adjudication.
- However, any subsequent proceedings must be commenced within six calendar months of the Award.
- And, in the meantime, the parties must comply with the adjudicator’s decision.
- Thus, by way of example, where an Award requires payment of money by one party to another, the payment must be made and cannot be recovered unless a court or arbitral body subsequently reverses the Award.
- Other features include an express requirement that adjudicators conduct adjudications in a timely and cost-effective manner and avoid unnecessary expense.
- For their part, parties are required to act in good faith and co-operate throughout the procedure. These are express obligations.
- Mediation remains an option and may take place at any time if the parties agree: i.e. before, after or even during the procedure itself.
- Application and registration fees will be modest and reflect the fact that SCL will operate as an appointing body only.
It is anticipated that applications for the adjudicator panel will open in September 2019 once all material relating to the procedure including eligibility criteria, application forms, rules, guidance notes and a schedule of charges have been published on the SCL website.
A formal launch event will be announced separately. We look forward to seeing you there.
The Drafting Committee:
Michael Bywell, Hausfield
Matthew Lavy, 4 Pump Court
Michael Lazarus, 3VB
David McIlwaine, Pinsent Masons
Society for Computers and Law A company limited by guarantee 1133537 Registered Charity No. 266331 VAT Registration No. 115 4840 85 Registered in England and Wales Registered office: Unit 4.5, Paintworks, Arnos Vale, Bristol, BS4 3EH.