Tick-Tock: Baker J. Provides Fresh Analysis On Time Limits For Procurement Challenges

On 21 June 2018, Baker J. analysed the nature of the time limits applicable to the judicial review of public contracts in Newbridge Tyre & Battery Company Ltd. v. Garda Commissioner [2017] 964 JR. This is an important case which provides fresh analysis on the critical issue of time AARON BOYLE limits for public procurement challenges.


To understand this case it is necessary to set out the timelines in a bit of detail. On 22 June 2017 An Garda Síochána commenced a competition to procure garage services for vehicles kept by An Garda Síochána which were either damaged as a result of traffic collisions or seized and stored for further criminal investigation. Tenderers were informed of the outcome of the competition by letter dated 27 October 2017. Corcoran Autobody Works Limited ("Corcoran") was identified as the preferred bidder. On the same date, Corcoran's competitor, Newbridge Tyre and Battery Co Limited ("Newbridge"), wrote to An Garda Síochána complaining that Corcoran had not met the competition's planning permission and did not have the necessary waste permits to provide the services and requested detailed information from An Garda Síochána.

An Garda Síochána provided a substantive response by letter dated 8 November 2017; and then again on 14 November 2017. Newbridge raised further queries by letter of 16 November 2017 and a response issued on 23 November 2017. In its response on 23 November 2017 An Garda Síochána acknowledged that Corcoran did not have the storage capabilities to fulfil the contract at either its primary or secondary facilities which was a tender requirement. Newbridge wrote again on 24 November 2017 with further complaints to which An Garda Síochána responded on 6 December 2017.

On 8 December 2017 (approximately 42 days after the notification of the outcome of the competition) Newbridge applied to bring judicial review proceedings on the grounds that sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Request for Tender had not been met. These clauses expressly stated that having sufficient planning permission to enable performance of the contract was a "condition precedent to the award of the tender". As a preliminary matter, the High Court was first asked to determine whether these proceedings were time barred by regulation 7(2) of the Remedies Regulations (the European Communities (Public Authorities Contracts) Review Procedures Regulations 2010, S.I. 130 of 2010, as amended).


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