Watch the clock — applying time limits for procurement challenges

By Jenny Beresford-Jones and Helen Prandy

Mills & Reeve has recently examined a couple of cases that illustrate two different approaches of the courts to the application of time limits for procurement challenges.

In Nationwide Gritting Services Ltd v The Scottish Ministers (2013), the court was sympathetic to the challenging bidder’s argument that a mere ‘suspicion’ that the contracting authority had breached the procurement rules was insufficient to start time running. The clock started ticking only at the point when the contracting authority in this case confirmed to the challenging bidder that it had indeed awarded the contract without any competition.

In contrast, in Corelogic Ltd v Bristol City Council (2013), the court strictly applied the 30-day time limit when it refused to allow the claimant bidder to expand its claim form so as to include new grounds for claim. These additional grounds fell outside those detailed in the claim form and the claimant had failed to amend its claim to include them within 30 days of its date of knowledge. As such, these new grounds for claim were out of time and no amendment to the claim form was permitted…

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