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Mediation comes of age

John Warchus looks at the implications of Cable & Wireless PLC v IBM United Kingdom Ltd

14 February 2003

In what is thought to be one of the first decisions of its kind in the English courts, the Commercial Court recently refused to give a declaratory judgement in an IT dispute and enforced a dispute resolution provision which required the parties to follow a specified ADR procedure. It is likely the decision in Cable & Wireless v IBM [2002] EWHC 2059 will be frequently cited by technology lawyers and litigators in the future. Background The parties had entered into a global agreement in 2000 to govern the supply of IT services by IBM to Cable & Wireless on a worldwide basis. To help ensure there was price competitiveness for the range of services provided by IBM, the agreement contained a schedule setting out a benchmarking process. Part of the process stated: “If the benchmark results demonstrate that the objective is not being achieved then IBM shall develop a plan acceptable to C&W, such acceptance not to be unreasonably withheld, to address these deviations (...

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