An imbalance of justice?

Lawyers acting for the Co-operative Group are pressing for a retrial of the retail giant's £11m legal battle with IT supplier...

Lawyers acting for the Co-operative Group are pressing for a retrial of the retail giant's £11m legal battle with IT supplier ICL, citing unwarranted attacks on Co-op's witnesses, and a judgement that was based on evidence "invented" by the judge.

The case, which left Co-op ordered to pay £1m compensation to ICL, has cast further doubt over the reputation of the Technology and Construction Court, which has been criticised previously for finding in favour of suppliers with excessive regularity.

Computer Weekly has no wish to comment on the claims of this particular ruling; what we do want to see is a judicial system that is alert to the upper-hand suppliers continue to hold in their relationships with their customers.

Without doubt, users require some protection. Computer Weekly has long campaigned against the sharp practices that blight IT provision. In our Stamp out Stiffing campaign, we highlighted the questionable licensing practices used by suppliers to squeeze corporate users for more money.

Nevertheless, product churn, support withdrawal and other monopolistic practices still go unchecked. If the Technology and Construction Court is to prove its worth, it needs to maintain the confidence of the UK's IT users and to defend their interests to the best of its abilities.

This was last published in February 2003

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