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Procurement challenges – fast reaction in limitation periods

04 April 2018 | Ken McEwan

One of the most difficult issues in public procurement disputes is the very short limitation periods relating to the issue of court proceedings. The limitation period refers to the timeframe in which you are entitled to issue a court case to advance your claim. In personal injury cases it is normally three years and in breach of contract cases it is six years. In public procurement cases, if you wish to seek an order preventing the public authority signing the contract, the limitation period is ten days from the day in which you received notice of the award.

The challenge

GL Law was actioned by a major food supplier who were the incumbent supplier of food to a local authority’s schools. At 12.45pm on the tenth day after the notice had been issued to our client that the contract had been awarded to large American food conglomerate, we received instruction. By 3.45pm we had issued a claim form, seeking an injunction preventing the award of the contract.

The process

In the period between the issue of the proceedings and the hearing of the injunction, we analysed both the bidding criteria issued by the local authority and the rival bid. We put forward convincing arguments to the local authority regarding why our client’s bid had been treated less favourably and regarding the lack of transparency of the bidding process.

The result

The local authority recommenced the tender process, addressing our client’s concerns and extending the term of our client’s supply contract by six months. We do not know the final outcome, but the extension of the contract by six months represents a commercial gain to our client far in excess of the legal spend.

Specialist legal advice

If you would like to find out more about our public procurement legal services, please call 0117 906 9400 or email hello@gl.law 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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