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The High Court in 2023 handed down a number of notable procurement decisions. These included:

  • Altiatech Ltd v Birmingham City Council [2023] 2 WLUK 296 where it was held that the 30-day limitation period for procurement challenges did not commence when the notification letters were received, as their contents were insufficient to allow the claimant to form the view that it had grounds to bring a challenge and it required further information to make this decision.
  • James Waste Management LLP v Essex County Council [2023] EWHC 1157 where the Court considered whether the variation of an existing awarded contract extended beyond the limits permitted by Regulation 72 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (Modification of contracts during their terms) and was therefore effectively an impermissible direct award. The court concluded that the modification was not sufficiently “substantial” to amount to an impermissible direct award and gave guidance that the safe-harbour tests in Reg 72(1)(a)-(f) should be interpreted narrowly as they amount to derogations from the general rule in Reg 72(9).
  • International Game Technology PLC and others v Gambling Commission [2023] EWHC 1961 which is significant on standing in procurement challenges: the court held that group companies who stood to be involved in service delivery under an unsuccessful bid under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, but did not bid themselves, did not have standing to challenge the procurement award. 
  • Siemens Mobility Limited v High Speed Two (HS2) Limited (judgment dated 06.11.23) which gives guidance on the approach to assessing manifest error in scoring and allegations of abnormally low tenders and conflict of interest and the role of judicial review in procurement disputes.

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Nusrat Zar

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