Abandonment of Procurement

June 4th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

One of the issues in Amey Highways Ltd v West Sussex Council (2019) EWHC 1291 (TCC) was whether or not the Council had lawfully abandoned a procurement.  Stuart-Smith J stated relevant general principles as follows:

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Suspension of Contract

May 22nd, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Kenson Contractors v Haringey LBC (2019) EWHC 1230 (Admin) was an application made by the Claimant contractor, for an interim injunction against the Council to suspend its decision to award or execute a road-improvement contract to the Interested Party, Marlborough Highways Limited (“MHL”). Kenson came second in the procurement exercise for that contract and MHL came first. Because of the value of the contract (some £630,000 plus VAT) this procurement exercise was well below the threshold for the operation of the otherwise relevant parts of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.  The underlying claim was brought by way of judicial review (“JR”) of the Council’s decision to award the contract to MHL rather than Kenson.

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Procedural Fairness/Tameside Duty

April 18th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

When a decision-maker is minded to make a decision adverse to someone on the basis of their dishonesty or other reprehensible conduct he is required as a matter of procedural fairness to indicate that suspicion clearly and give the applicant an opportunity to respond. This principle has been reaffirmed in Balajigari v SSHD (2019) EWCA Civ 673, from paragraph 46, where the Court of Appeal said:-

“46.    … the question of whether there has been procedural fairness or not is an objective question for the court to decide for itself. The question is not whether the decision-maker has acted reasonably, still less whether there was some fault on the part of the public authority concerned.”

“59.    … although sometimes the duty to act fairly may not require a fair process to be followed before a decision is reached … fairness will usually require that to be done where that is feasible for practical and other reasons. … Read more »



April 16th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Keep the Horton General v Oxfordshire CCG and Cherwell District Council (2019) EWCA Civ 646 concerns one aspect of the first part of a two-phase consultation exercise upon five proposals. McCombe LJ said:-

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Local authority budgets

April 16th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Following the Divisional Court decision in Hollow v Surrey County Council (2019) EWHC 618 (Admin) on local authority budgets and decisions to reduce expenditure, Supperstone J has decided R (AD) v Hackney LBC (2019) EWHC 943 (Admin), in which, again, the challenge was dismissed, and all the various grounds of challenge rejected. As regards alleged “systemic unlawfulness”, it was not the case that Hackney’s approach inherently would produce failures to comply with the relevant absolute, statutory duty (Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014). The impact of the reduction upon SEN children and Education and Health Care Plans could be mitigated in individual cases. Nor was a banded system an intrinsically unlawful way to discharge that duty. Further, there was no breach of Section 27 of the 2014 Act, of the PSED, of Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, or of Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. Moreover, no public law consultation was required under Section 27, or the PSED or at common law. There was no legitimate expectation of consultation. It was not required in order to avoid “conspicuous unfairness”. There was compliance with the Tameside duty to equip oneself with adequate information.




Procedural Propriety

April 9th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

On acting as a judge in one’s own cause, legitimate expectation, and ECHR Article 8, see the Divisional Court Judgment in R (Sargeant) v First Minister of Wales (2019) EWHC 739 (Admin). A Press Statement issued by the First Minister stating that there would be an Independent Inquiry into actions of his was held to give rise to an enforceable legitimate expectation that he would himself have no involvement in the preparatory work for the Inquiry.   That expectation was breached by him by setting the remit for the drafting of the Operational Protocol governing the Inquiry and by his control over the final form of that Protocol.


Contractual Interpretation

April 1st, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

The issue before the Court of Appeal (Longmore, David Richards and Leggatt LJJ) in Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (2019) EWCA Civ 526 was one of interpretation of a contract to establish an escrow account.

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Participation in public contract

April 1st, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

Case C-101/18, Idi v Arcadis, CJEU Judgment on 28 March 2019, concerns the exclusion of Idi from participating in a tendering procedure for a public services contract.

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Officer reports to committee

March 27th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

In Thompson v Conwy County Borough Council (2019) EWHC 746 (Admin) Dove J addressed at paragraphs 20-22 inclusive the law relating to the discretion whether or not to grant planning permission, and at paragraph 24 the legal principles governing an allegation that members have been misled by the advice which they have received from their officers.  In that latter connection Dove J said:-

“Firstly, the case-law has made clear that it is a reasonable inference where members follow the recommendation of their officers that they can be taken to have adopted the reasoning and explanation provided in the Committee report and any other presentation to them by officers. When approaching the examination of the Committee report the courts have made clear that criticisms will not merit consideration unless the overall effect of the report has been to significantly mislead the Committee about the material considerations bearing on their decision. Reports should also be approached on the basis that they are being read by a knowledgeable readership in the form of a Planning Committee of trained council members, with a substantial local background knowledge of the area which they represent and a broad familiarity with local development plan policies. Thus officer reports should be read as a whole and in a common sense manner, bearing in mind they are addressed to an informed readership rather than construed as a statute or other similar legal instrument, and that they were intended to be a practical decision-taking tool.”


Budget Decision-Making

March 19th, 2019 by James Goudie QC in Decision making and Contracts

R (Hollow) v Surrey County Council (2019) EWHC 618 (Admin) is now the leading case on challenges to local authority budgets. The challenge failed on all grounds. It was particularly focussed on savings in relation to special educational needs and disabilities (“SSEND”).
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