Pearson Driving Assessments Limited v The Minister for the Cabinet
Citation: EWHC 2082 (TCC)
Nature of case:
In the context of a challenge to the legality of a public procurement tendering process, Pearson made an application for specific disclosure. Disclosure was sought prior to the hearing of an application by the Minister under section 47(H)(1)(a) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, of documents which would in any event have fallen within the standard disclosure to be provided by the Minister shortly after the hearing of the section 47 application. Pearson argued that those documents requested would be necessary to defend the section 47 application. Akenhead J rejected this argument on the basis that the Minister would not be in a position to rely on controversial facts to support their application, and so no documentation would be necessary for Pearson to refute them.
Pearson also sought disclosure on the basis that it would allow them to establish that they had a very strong case, and so argue that the balance of convenience favoured rejection of the section 47 application. Akenhead J also rejected this argument, partly on the basis that the purpose of section 47(H) was to allow the court to make decisions before all the requisite steps in the proceedings have been carried out. The application was dismissed.