A judge has ordered an IT firm to pay £1.2 million in compensation to the holding company of CalMac Ferries over a contractual dispute involving a new ticketing system.
ATOS IT Services (UK) Limited will have to hand David MacBrayne Ltd £1,202,130 following a judgment made yesterday by Lord Doherty at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Lawyers for the ferry operator argued that ATOS breached the terms of a contract made with them by failing to provide MacBrayne with a new reservation system.
Last night, a David MacBrayne spokesman said: “We are delighted that the court agreed with our view that ATOS IT failed to deliver on the contract we entered into with them, and the £1.2 million compensation awarded plus costs is vindication of the course of action we chose to take.
“Putting in place a modern, fit for purpose ticketing system is a priority for us and while this unfortunate experience has been a setback, we can now get our plans to improve our ticketing services for customers firmly back on track.”
He added that the new ticketing system has been put on hold due to the contract breakdown and said the project will need to be revisited before any tendering process restarts.
The ferry operator took the service providers to Scotland’s highest civil court as it believed ATOS did not follow the terms of a contract made between the two in August 2014.
Under the terms of the agreement, ATOS was supposed to provide MacBrayne with a new reservation system.
But David MacBrayne terminated the contract with ATOS in July 2016 after the computer specialists failed to show they had taken adequate steps to ensure the new system was being installed.
David MacBrayne concluded that ATOS had breached the contract and it was entitled to terminate the agreement.
The firm instructed lawyers to go to the Court of Session to argue that it was entitled to damages from ATOS IT services.
Lawyers acting for ATOS claimed the firm had acted properly and hadn’t breached the terms of the contract made with David MacBrayne.
But after hearing legal arguments, Lord Doherty ruled in favour of David MacBrayne.
In a written judgement issued at the court, Lord Doherty wrote: “I am satisfied that it was reasonable of the pursuer to act as it did.
“It follows that the pursuer is entitled to damages of £1,202,130.”
Yesterday an ATOS spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the judgement, but as this is still a commercial matter that is under due legal process, we cannot comment further.”
The ruling comes just days after the new boss of CalMac Ferries, Robbie Drummond, warned that ageing vessels could cause disruption to services over the summer as its fleet is reshuffled to cover for a ferry undergoing repairs.
Local business and transport leaders are concerned that erratic services could hurt tourism and the local economy and have called for major investment in the fleet, which has a number of vessels over 30 years old.