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Law Firm Sues Government in £50 Million Contract Tendering Row

A bitterly disappointed law firm which bid unsuccessfully for public contracts worth up to £50 million is suing the government amidst accusations that the tendering process was undermined by manifest errors and unequal treatment.

The firm had lodged tenders with the Insolvency Service to carry out legal work but had failed to win any of the six contracts on offer. In claiming that the tendering process breached EU legal principles and the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, the firm pointed to an ‘inexplicable anomaly’ in the result of the competition and argued that it had not been treated on an equal footing with other bidders.

Following preliminary proceedings, the Court of Appeal granted permission to the firm to amend its case against the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills so as to also allege a lack of transparency in the bidding procedure. The award of all six contracts had been held up pending the outcome of the litigation; however, that automatic suspension was lifted in respect of all but one of them. The firm had failed to win that contract by a margin of just 1 per cent.