Public procurement disputes

Public Procurement Disputes

The process of securing public services contracts can be very rewarding, but when those relationships go wrong there is much at stake for both public authorities and the businesses that have invested in them.
If a dispute arises you will want access to expertise and know-how to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.
How we deliver

Our team’s experience of procurement litigation enables us to provide you with the right legal advice, quickly and concisely, with an eye on the bigger commercial picture, agreeing with you your longer term strategy and implications of the challenge.

We have a wealth of experience in dealing with disputes relating to tenders run in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR).

Typical issues we can address for you include:
  • issues arising at the pre-qualification stage and advice on how to deal with these including through clarifications;
  • issuing and defending applications to set aside contractual awards;
  • issuing and defending claims for damages and declarations of ineffectiveness;
  • providing advice on the legality of the procurement procedure; and
  • advising authorities on ways of minimising the likelihood of challenge on their procedure.
Other services

As well as providing advice and acting for claimants and defendants in procurement disputes, we can also provide training to bidders and procuring authorities on the PCR and the rights and remedies available to bidders if things go wrong.

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Case examples
  • We advised a bidding company in a procurement challenge over contracts worth over £3 million, where the bid submitted by our client was not scored in accordance with the evaluation criteria. A favourable settlement for our client was reached soon after proceedings were issued.
  • We advised a bidding company during the tender process as they were unable to satisfy the criteria for financial standing and the criteria itself seemed biased towards the incumbent provider. We drafted a series of clarification questions for the client to raise with the authority. As a result, the authority withdrew part of the requirement on financial standing which meant our client was able to bid for all three contracts.
  • We acted for a bidding company in a challenge to a local authority’s decision to award contracts for recycling and cleaning services to a competing bidder. Two sets of Court proceedings were issued, one seeking an order compelling the disclosure of documents and the second set of proceedings seeking damages for breach of the procurement regulations. The strategic approach we took resulted in the local authority revoking its decision to award the contract swiftly before a Defence was filed. Our client successfully retendered for the award of the contracts. As a consequence of the advice we provided and the steps our client took, it took less than six months from the date of our client’s challenge to the date when the retendered contract was awarded to our client.