CD: In your opinion, what are the major trends and developments defining technology disputes over the past 12 months? What types of dispute are particularly common?

McIlwaine: We have noted a slight decrease in major IT project disputes in the last year. There may be a number of reasons for this. First, there are fewer major UK government IT contracts – which are often the subject of dispute, as a result of the government’s approach to smaller, more agile contracts. Secondly, parties may be more ready to renegotiate in order to salvage projects, rather than become embroiled in litigation. Thirdly, suppliers are establishing good contract and commercial management processes, meaning issues are managed in a proactive way. However, we are also seeing an increase in other areas. These include IT outsourcing disputes, with claims relating to KPI failures and service credits. There is a rise in licensing disputes, with suppliers removing restrictions on end-users’ ability to create licences, and then relying on audit rights to ensure the correct licence fees are paid. Contentious data protection matters, where parties avoid the complications of the Defamation Act by framing the action as a breach of the DPA, are also increasing. And, of course, we are seeing a rise in cyber security related disputes.

Apr-Jun 2016 issue

IT Group UK

Pinsent Masons