Procurement Law & Litigation
Maximising your success
What is involved?
Procurement law broadly governs the process by which public authorities, including central and local government, and certain utility sector bodies, purchase goods, works or services, and usually requires a fair and transparent competitive tendering process.
The legal framework for public procurement is vast and complex, yet public authorities and utilities face serious consequences for non-compliance, including litigation by unsuccessful bidders. Nonetheless, constantly evolving procurement rules, case law and guidance render compliance difficult for purchasers, while affording bidders opportunities to challenge.
Our team of Competition lawyers thoroughly understand the legal complexities and has the specialist knowledge and expertise to provide commercial and strategic guidance and advice for both purchasers and bidders.
We structure and implement compliant tender processes, with effective evaluation and award methodologies, and help resolve any disputes that may arise. Our team delivers regular client training on ‘good practice’ to seek to avoid the risk of potential challenges.
Why choose Freeths?
- We are trusted by a large and diverse range of private sector clients to solve complex public procurement issues, advise on bid strategy and challenge public tender processes.
- Numerous public sector clients also entrust us on complex procurements, including central government, utilities, further education providers, charities, registered social landlords and over 100 Local Authorities nationwide. We are appointed to several nationally recognised legal frameworks, including EM LawShare, North East Procurement Organisation and London Boroughs Legal Alliance.
- Acting for both sectors has enabled us to gain a deep understanding of the issues involved and provide valuable advice on procurement processes, as well as avoiding, pursuing and/or resolving procurement challenges.
Freeths’ Competition lawyers also assist bidders to maximise their chances of making a successful bid. This can mean advice on bid content, or on raising clarification questions during the process to help understand and meet the authority’s requirements, and on when there is a non-compliant tender process that could make a bid unsuccessful.
We also advise tenderers on when to challenge a procurement process and/or a decision to award a contract to another bidder, as well as how to avoid falling foul of the strict and short time limits for doing so.
Changes to Threshold Levels for Public ProcurementsArticles 10th Jan 2018
"I have worked with Mark for a number of years in my roles at LGC and Consort and he is always a pleasure to work with - he is quick to identify the material issues and provides incisive, commercially-focused, solution-driven and pragmatic advice. He is a great lawyer to have on your side."
(John Ilett, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, Consort Medical)
“Local government practice handles a full spectrum of work for clients … our recent highlights include Stephen Pearson advising Scape System Build on the establishment of a joint venture vehicle with Nottinghamshire County Council.”
(The Legal 500)
- Acting for Carillion/Amey joint venture on procurement challenges by three Interserve consortia to £4 billion UK Government Ministry of Defence tenders, including successfully navigating three High Court hearings.
- Acting for clients on numerous procurement challenges including several High Court cases (e.g. Jacobs v Southend, Woods v Milton Keynes, Office Depot v Scottish Procurement Office).
- Acting for a central government department in relation to a high profile multi-million pound procurement challenge by four separate bidders following the abandonment of a procurement process for the award of a contract for the running of a prominent main rail line. The bidders also issued associated Judicial Review claims. The challenges/claims were successfully rebutted.
- Advising an energy sector client on the procurement and competition law aspects of a High Court claim against the UK Government’s Minister for the Cabinet Office in relation to the National Fuels Framework.
- Advising a food sector client on a procurement challenge and an abuse of dominance claim under EU/UK competition law, involving complex cross-border procurement and competition issues.
- Advising a global high tech medical devices manufacturer on a procurement challenge to an NHS tender.
- Acting for the joint venture of two large waste companies on its procurement challenge arising from a long running and complex public procurement for waste services, which had been abandoned. The claims, which were settled on favourable terms, were primarily for substantial bid costs and were complex and novel.
- Advising Circle Health on complex procurement issues on its successful award of the first operating franchise to run an NHS acute hospital trust.
- Acting for a Local Authority on a procurement challenge to the award of a contract for the provision of bus services, which culminated in advising on the abandonment of the procurement process and subsequent successful re-tendering of the contract through a new procurement.
- Advising on UK Government procurement policy in emerging NHS healthcare markets and the application of the procurement rules to tenders by a wide variety of NHS bodies.
- Advising, acting on and settling a large international aviation client’s procurement challenge for the award of a contract for the provision of military aviation services. The procurement was high value, complex and had been challenged, abandoned and re-commenced on a number of occasions.
- Advising a large number of public sector clients, including government departments, the Local Government Association and a wide variety of Local Authorities on structuring complex tender processes, including preparing procurement documentation, advising on evaluation methodologies and change management, and successfully dealing with threats of challenge.
- Acting for a charity/quasi-public body in public procurement challenge proceedings brought by a disappointed bidder for Olympic legacy contracts. One of the first cases to impose the ‘automatic suspension’, this was resolved on terms favourable to Sport England.
- Advising private and public sector clients on the application of the procurement rules to large regeneration/development schemes, including a major grocery retailer, a property investment client and a number of Local Authorities.
- Advising on the application of the procurement rules to a number of PFI/PPP projects, including acting for a Local Authority on a large Building Schools for the Future project.
- Advising Carillion on complex procurement issues on UK Government tenders, including on a bid to purchase a defence business owned by the Ministry of Defence.
- Seconded as Interim Head of Legal at a national company wholly owned by public sector customers and shareholders (including central government) which delivers shared business services, including procurement, to resolve a complex, high value and entrenched procurement challenge. Also advised on a number of other procurement challenges.
- Advising a social care charity on errors in the evaluation criteria and methodology utilised by an authority in a procurement process for healthcare provision. This ensured that the procurement was abandoned and the client subsequently agreed extended contracts with the authority.
- Successfully arguing in favour of a developer that there was a ‘material change’ in a procurement surrounding a large city centre development.
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014