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The Society for Computers and Law (SCL) has introduced an Adjudication Scheme for IT Projects and Services.
In its announcement SCL described the key details of the Scheme as being:
A 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.
The new SCL Adjudication Scheme is very welcome. It mirrors the adjudication process that has been included in construction contracts for some 25 years (and the reference to the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) in the Adjudication Scheme rules is significant since the TCC is the specialist court for dealing with technology and construction disputes).
We have just included the SCL Adjudication Scheme in an IT contract for a client for the first time as part of the dispute resolution measures aimed at resolving any dispute as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
On the SCL website you will find:
- SCL Adjudication Scheme Rules
- Guidance Notes
- Schedule of Charges
Key points to highlight about the Scheme are:
- There is no restriction on the size or scope of technology disputes that may be referred.
- The SCL has put in place a pre-selected panel of adjudicators.
- The adjudicator’s decision will be provisionally binding meaning the parties may reopen the dispute in subsequent litigation or arbitration but…
- Any later proceedings must be started within six calendar months of the adjudicator’s decision.
- There is an express requirement that adjudicators conduct adjudications in a timely and cost-effective manner and avoid unnecessary expense and…
- The parties are required to act in good faith and co-operate throughout the procedure.
- The successful party is entitled to enforce the adjudicator’s decision on an expedited basis available under the procedures of the TCC or any other suitable court.
- The SCL has provided clauses to use in contracts that are to include the Scheme.
- These clauses are not mandatory and the SCL also welcomes ad hoc referrals.
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