Court case between ESS and Capita

ESS SIMS Versus Capita – Part III

On 14th August we posted an article about ESS’s claim that Capita Managed IT Solutions is using SIMS in Northern Ireland schools without licence.  On the 17th we posted Capita’s counter defence. Here’s the Court’s initial judgement on the case

  • The Claimants (ESS) and the Defendant (Capita) are in a contractual dispute over the licensing of software to the defendant;
  • The Claimants say that the licensing agreement expired on 31st March 2023, while the Defendant says that it was extended by agreement for an additional year;
  • The Claimants applied for the trial of their claim to be expedited and heard by the end of July or in the first week of August;
  • The Defendant applied for the proceedings to be stayed for 60 days pending mediation;
  • The Court ordered that the trial should be listed before the end of October;
  • The Court has denied the Defendant’s application for a stay of the proceedings pending mediation;
  • The Court acknowledged that EANI (Education Authority of Northern Ireland)  “the party in the middle of this, is placed in a very difficult situation”

The Court’s decision was based on the following factors:

  • The software in question is critical to the functioning of over 1,000 schools in Northern Ireland;
  • There is considerable uncertainty about what will happen going forward if the dispute is not resolved quickly;
  • Mediation should proceed in parallel with the preparation for trial.

The Court’s judgement is a compromise between the need to resolve the dispute quickly and the need to allow all parties time to prepare their cases.

Of course, what the court papers don’t mention is that a procurement process is currently underway in Northern Ireland which includes an MIS for all schools in the region.

We’ll keep monitoring this case and bring you an update as soon as possible.

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