AG has advised High Speed Two (HS2) Limited in its successful defence of a major procurement challenge brought by Bechtel Limited in a comprehensive judgment handed down today.
In a significant judgment (running to 152 pages), the High Court has dismissed all claims brought by an unsuccessful bidder, Bechtel Limited, in relation to HS2’s £1.3 billion procurement for its Construction Partner for Old Oak Common, one of the two major Southern Stations on the new high speed line.
The judgment provides helpful analysis for authorities, utilities and bidders on a number of aspects of public procurement processes. The Court re-emphasised that authorities have a wide scope in the setting of the terms of their procurement processes and, provided those rules are followed rationally and transparently, the courts will be slow to interfere in the decision made by authorities (and their assessors) in applying those rules.
The decision also reinforces the risk bidders take if they choose to submit tenders seeking to qualify/amend fundamental terms of the contract to be let. Authorities are not obliged to change the tendered contract, especially if that would change the risk profile of the contract (and thereby create a risk of challenge by other bidders if they did so).