BY Development Ltd & Ors v Covent Garden Market Authority

Citation: EWHC 2546 (TCC)

Nature of case:
The Claimants sought an order to adduce expert evidence relating to both planning and finance issues in a challenge to the Defendant’s decision to award a development contract to a rival bidder at a trial scheduled for January 2013.

As a point of principle, Coulson J affirmed that the authorities demonstrate that where issues are concerned with manifest error or unfairness, expert evidence will not generally be admissible in judicial review or procurement cases. Despite this general point, it is not the case that expert evidence can never be admissible in public procurement cases concerned with manifest error. In some cases, it may be required by way of technical explanatory evidence, and in other cases relevant and necessary to allow the court to reach a conclusion on manifest error if a particular issue is specific or discrete.
After turning to consider the specific facts of the case before him, Coulson J held that expert evidence was not admissible on the basis that:
  • The case was not an unusual one, and did not require explanatory expert evidence;
  • The case’s planning and financial matters were relatively straightforward, and did not require explanation through the use of expert evidence.

Counsel

Sarah Hannaford QC

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