Linklaters helps QCA beat hasty retreat from ETS exam contract

Linklaters has advised the Qualifications and ­Curriculum Authority (QCA) on an early exit from its contract with US-owned exams administrator ETS Europe after the latter failed to deliver test results.

QCA came under fire this summer when schools in England did not receive complete results for 11 and 14-year-old pupils who sat Key Stage 2 and 3 exams.

The magic circle firm helped QCA dissolve its five-year £156m contract with ETS, which is set to pay back £19.5m along with £4.6m for the cancellation of invoices and other charges.

The 2008 contract was worth £39.6m, so more than two-thirds of the money will be recouped. ETS will conclude this year’s operations without further payment.

Linklaters technology, media and telecoms partner Marly Didizian, who led the team, said: “This year has seen a noticeable rise in the number of outsourcing arrangements being terminated early in contentious circumstances. Knowing how to reduce costs and structure an outsourcing deal for success has arguably never been more important than in the current climate.”

Litigation partner Mark Humphries assisted Didizian. Jones Day litigation partner Lee Coffey and outsourcing of counsel Elizabeth Robertson advised ETS.