High Court maintains suspension on domestic violence support contract


Bristol Missing Link Limited v Bristol City Council HT – 2015 – 00043

Bristol Missing Link Limited, a community benefit society which has provided domestic abuse support services in Bristol on a not-for-profit basis for around 16 years challenged the outcome of a recent tender procedure conducted by the Council, which had concluded that a new contract for the services should be awarded to another bidder. Under reg. 47G of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (“the Regulations”), the claim triggered the automatic suspension on contract-making prohibiting the Council from entering into the new contract.  The High Court (Coulson J) yesterday rejected an application by Bristol City Council under reg. 47H of the Regulations to lift the automatic suspension.

The judgment is a further addition to the recent line of authorities in which the Courts have been prepared to maintain the automatic suspension in an EU procurement dispute until full trial. The decision shows that interim relief can be maintained in such cases even if the subject-matter of the contract relates to social welfare/health related services: compare the recent judgment of Akenhead J in Solent NHS Trust v Hampshire County Council [2015] EWHC 457 (in which Joseph Barrett of 11KBW acted for the successful Defendant, Hampshire County Council).

Jason Coppel KC and Joseph Barrett acted for the successful Claimant, Bristol Missing Link Limited, instructed by Bevan Brittan LLP.