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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.
Gregg Latchams was recently 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.
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 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.