When the software lets you down
Partner Ted Mercer’s perspective:
I was pleased at the end of last week to read that finally a large group of sub postmasters and sub postmistresses have been cleared of wrongdoing and convictions based on evidence that came from the Post Offices accounting system which has been held to be unsafe. I am sure that the people who have suffered will seek redress and damages against the Post Office and are probably already involved in that process.
My interest is whether they might have a direct claim against Fujitsu and the extent to which the Post Office might have a claim against Fujitsu.
It appears in the press reports that people from Fujitsu have over the period of this problem made various representations in Court and one presumes elsewhere about the accuracy and competence of its systems. I note that the Judge made some reference to examination of the part played by Fujitsu and in particular individuals who gave evidence in the criminal trials.
Without wishing to teach my grandma to suck eggs what I would be looking for are representations in respect of what Fujitsu has done historically over the relevant period. I would be looking to see if they had been reckless as to representations they made. It seems to be often forgotten that representations that are made recklessly are fraudulent. Fraudulent misrepresentation may escape limitations on liability clauses and indeed time limitations.
I am reminded of the case some years ago now involving Sky and EDS where the Defendant was caused most difficulty by what were held to be reckless representations.
The interesting questions from a lawyer’s point of view in the whole sorry matter may be liability at the end of the day on those within the contractual matrix who are truly responsible.
Ted Mercer is a Partner in Maddox Legal’s Litigation department, with an expertise in telecommunications and technology start-ups.