Getting to yes, but at what cost?

My latest Computerworld article is now available online:

In New Zealand, several laws are relevant to allegations of deceit or misrepresentation in trade, the most significant of which is the Fair Trading Act 1986. The key part of this Act states that “no person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.” The Act cannot be excluded by contract, and applies to virtually all local commercial dealing.

BSkyB v EDS provides a useful example, applicable in New Zealand, of a vendor impliedly misrepresenting that there was a proper foundation for making a statement in a pre-contractual situation. The message is that such conduct (making a representation without foundation) may not simply be “negligent” or an oversight, but may be found to be deceitful.

Since publication, it has been announced that HP (which bought EDS) will pay a total settlement of £318 million (~NZ$680 million), and will not appeal the High Court judgment.

An amusing aspect of the trial involving a barrister’s dog is mentioned here.

The judgment itself is here.