Software and IT Infrastructure for Banks and Investment Houses Expert Witness

Banking Expert Witness

In all business transactions there is the possibility that disputes can occur. Perhaps because of the somewhat ethereal nature of computer programs, disagreements are quite common in IT contracts entered into between a software vendor, (the ‘Licensor’) and the licensee who ultimately will use the software.

These situations arise for a number of reasons: often the licensee may not have adequately specified its business requirements, which the software is intended to address. Alternatively, the software vendor, who may have a very clear knowledge of its software, may have failed to investigate fully the needs of the actual users or explained the functionality that was going to be provided.

Often there is an implicit understanding between both two parties of what is being supplied and what is required, but it is expressed inadequately. As a consequence, disagreements are prone to arise when one side believes it has not received the utility it was expecting to derive from the software or when the other party is adamant it has fulfilled its obligations and expects payment.

Arguments of this type can be even more pronounced when bespoke software is written to meet the specific requirements of the client. In such cases, ambiguity can often arise over the ownership of the intellectual property of the programs and restrictions over the right to use it.

In addition to the above, confrontations occur during the life time of the project, when one party becomes dissatisfied with the performance of the other against the agreed timetable and/or the payment of fees against the project milestones.

Conflicts may also arise over matters such as the availability of improvements to the software as specified under a support agreement. Such a document should detail what constitutes a “change” to a program, as opposed to an “error” in the code, and how both are made available to users, under a service level agreement (‘SLA’). In the commercial world however, it is not always that simple!

Any resulting dispute can be costly to both parties. The abrupt termination of a software licence will most certainly result in a significant impact to the licensee’s business, interrupting key processes. Failure to pay the agreed fees will have an equally damaging impact on the licensor’s revenue and cash flow projections. As a consequence, it is vital such disputes are resolved promptly and fairly.

Expert Evidence has a thorough understanding of such IT contracts and projects. It is able to provide incisive clarity in resolving such matters. Expert Evidence has expertise and experience from both the licensor’s perspective and also that of the user. It fully understands the obligations of both parties and is ideally positioned to resolve such matters.

Expert Evidence has worked with both vendors and users of software to resolve the types of conflict as described above. In some cases, the software licensor has been obliged to develop additional functionality; in others, the licensee has been required to pay outstanding charges for software it had received and was using.

Software and IT infrastructure for Banks and Investment houses.

Banking and Investment Systems are the core of any organisations infrastructure but they are also continuing changing and developing continually in the new digital world. This has acted to provide major benefits to customers and hence it is beholden on all organisations to keep at the forefront of the technical wave. This requires constant and continual development for their policies and procedures and also their IT systems. Very few organisations can afford the cost of developing these systems in-house and fewer still, think that it is better not to outsource the work to a third party. Sometimes the systems do not live up to the capabilities that were sold and sometimes they just do not work as intended. Furthermore any system that controls large amount of money or investments is likely to come under attack from criminal elements. All these problems can lead to a dispute between the software vendor and the financial institution. Was the integrity fo the software correct, was it open to a back door attack or for new systems was the software up to providing what was required in the specification.

Expert Evidence have a deep expertise in this area and can advise both software vendors and investment houses of the rights and wrongs where a dispute arises. Executives have worked for the banks and also for software providers and so can look at each part of the process which results in loss. We also have the expertise to assess quantum in this difficult area. Executives have experience in the stages of the legal process and also have given evidence in court under cross examination. We can work in the area of new systems and check the quality of the specification and advise on the liability where systems do not meet a client’s demands. We also can investigate the policies and procedures in the financial institutions to ensure that they meet the current requirements of anti-money laundering and fraud protection.

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