Digital Litigation - The Risks to Businesses

Article

08 October, 2015

As a society we are ever increasingly reliant upon the internet and technology to go about our daily lives. The vast majority of us will not go through a day without firing up our Laptops, Ipads or Smart Phones and many of us rely on them to conduct our business.

The development of such technology allows businesses to work a lot more in the online market and a large number of agreements and business relationships are now established and conducted online. Similarly many businesses now publish increasing amounts of information on the internet, most of which can be freely accessed by the public.

The online arena comes with its own risks; businesses can sometimes find themselves liable for defamatory content having been posted on their websites and it can be tricky to establish fault where technology fails and one or both parties incur losses as a result. The risks can therefore be classified as the identifiable and unidentifiable.

In the case of the former the recent £10,000 worth of damages paid over by the operators of 'Solicitors from Hell' demonstrates how content posted online can end up costing businesses a great deal. Though in this case the nature of said website suggests that defamation could well be a serious risk, for many businesses an allegation of defamation can come out of the blue. The advice would be to make sure that you are aware of exactly what content is being posted on your website and exactly who can see this information, thereby managing your exposure to the risk of defamatory content.

In the case of the unidentifiable risks such as a technological failure, this can lead to much argument over who is liable to bear the losses suffered as a result of the failure. These disputes are often difficult to determine due to the fact that usually the parties do not envisage such issues and therefore do not make provision for them in their terms and conditions and agreements. The advice here would be to make sure that technological issues are adequately provided for in terms and conditions and where possible the contract between the parties. This way both parties will know where they stand should the unexpected occur.

If your business is experiencing any of the issues discussed above, Forbes Solicitor's Dispute Resolution Team can provide assistance and advice.

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