Procurement & Competition

Keating Chambers is a go-to set for procurement which offers “strength and depth of expertise” alongside “a great level of service”. We are at the cutting edge of procurement law and at the forefront of many of the key cases in this area. As expert advocates, we are regularly instructed by government bodies, local authorities, and industry clients in highly complex litigation. We are also strategic advisers to authorities and bidders often involved at all stages of the tender process from design to debrief. Described as “commercial, un-stuffy, client-friendly, committed, personable”, our barristers see things from the client’s perspective.

OUR PROCUREMENT BARRISTERS

We have a “gifted team of talented silks and juniors” which is rapidly growing at the senior end from lateral recruitments and organically with junior members introduced to procurement cases at any early stage. Our leading silks include Sarah Hannaford QC, who is ranked as a “star individual” by Chambers & Partners and “is everything you could wish for in an advocate”, Fionnuala McCredie QC, “a true leader in procurement” who was listed in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 in 2021 off the back of her work on the Rail Franchise Litigation, and the “exceptionally talentedCharles Banner QC, who joined Chambers in July 2020 and was instructed in the ground-breaking Faraday case in the Court of Appeal. Our experienced juniors include Rachael O’Hagan, Simon Taylor (“a truly excellent advocate”) and David Gollancz (“the terminator of procurement law”), as well as rising stars like Tom CoulsonHarry SmithEmma HealissJames Frampton, Harriet di Francesco,
John Steel, Thomas Saunders, and Ben Graff.

OUR PROCUREMENT EXPERTISE

We have “undisputed acumen when handling procurement cases” and our breadth of expertise is wide, with work spanning a variety of projects including (but not limited to):

Rail

  • A huge victory for our team who represented the Secretary of State in the “Rail Franchise Litigation”. This case was named one of the Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2020” and was one of the most complex commercial judicial review cases.
  • Alstom Transport UK Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd – The procurement concerns the first major digital signalling project in the UK on the East Coast Main Line and has been described by Network Rail as a flagship of the Government’s Digital Railway Programme.
  • Claim brought in relation to the procurement for the management contract for the build of Old Oak Common Station based on alleged scoring errors, alleged abnormally low tender and post award changes.

Infrastructure

  • Case concerning the procurement of a £1 billion contract for the construction of a proposed new road tunnel under the Thames near the O2 Arena.
  • Acting for the Defendant, successfully applied to lift the automatic suspension on a procurement for facilities management at the Courts.

Healthcare

  • A high-profile challenge concerning the urgent procurement of automated diagnostic software for the purpose of mass testing of COVID-19.
  • Ryhurst v Whittington NHSActing for Ryhurst following the recent decision of the Whittington Health NHS Trust to abandon the procurement of a Strategy Estates Partnership joint venture (SEP) between them.
  • Accessible Orthodontics v NHS England Claim based on alleged scoring errors in a procurement for NHS dental services.
  • Circle Nottingham Ltd v NHS Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group and Nottingham University NHS Trust – Acting on behalf of an incumbent challenger resisting the lift of an automatic suspension of contract award in their challenge of a procurement for the provision of medical services at the Nottingham Treatment Centre.

Entertainment

  • Acting for Live Nation Music Ltd, the unsuccessful bidder for the contract to run Hyde Park Summertime music festival tendered by Royal Parks.

Military

  • MSI-Defence Systems Ltd v Secretary of State for Defence – This claim challenges the Defendant’s decision to rewind a tender for naval gun systems and reinvite bids on the basis of revised scoring guidance.

Urban Regeneration & Development Agreements

  • Faraday Development Ltd v West Berkshire CouncilThe lead case on the circumstances in which a development agreement between a local authority and a private sector developer, by which the authority seeks to secure important urban regeneration, is within the scope of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and therefore required to be subject to public procurement. Heard in the Court of Appeal.
  • Wylde v Waverley Borough Council a high profile challenge to the variation of a development agreement between Crest Nicholson and Waverley BC, which also concerned the test for standing in judicial review claims brought on public procurement grounds.

Waste

  • Community R4C Ltd v Gloucestershire County Council – acting for the defendants who successfully defeated the Claimant’s procurement challenge to the amendment of a substantial contract for the construction and operation of an energy from waste plant.

In addition, as former competition partners in leading law firms, Simon Taylor and David Gollancz (are competition as well as procurement specialists. Their years of experience encompass European Commission and CMA investigations as well as litigation, in the area of anti-competitive agreements, state aid, merger control and abuse of dominance. Both are specialist in public and utility markets where procurement, competition law, state aid and sectoral regulation meet and increasingly their cases cross the divide of these disciplines.

OUR PROCUREMENT THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Our members regularly contribute to legal publications and are in demand as speakers at procurement conferences. They are actively involved with professional organisations including the Procurement Law Association and are instrumental in the development of procurement law. For example, Sarah Hannaford QC was a member of the Procurement Transformation Advisory Panel which was established by the Cabinet Office to contribute to proposals for reform to public procurement after Brexit. Since September 2020, the group have been running bi-monthly procurement surgeries (a roundtable panel discussion tacking key hot topics and audience questions), and in 2021 launched a programme of procurement podcasts (starting with a mini-series focussing on the Transforming Public Procurement Green Paper).