High Court strikes out procurement claim on limitation grounds


The High Court has today handed down judgment striking out a PCR 2015 claim by Access for Living (‘AfL’) against the London Borough of Lewisham (the ‘Council’). 

AfL issued its claim within an extended standstill period agreed with the Council, but two days outside the 30-day limitation period: its lawyers had conflated the standstill extension with an extension to the limitation period. AfL accepted that the bulk of its claims were prima facie out of time, but argued that there was ‘good reason’ for an extension given the standstill period (and so alleged absence of prejudice to the Council) and the short duration of the delay in issuing proceedings.  

Jefford J rejected those arguments following an extensive analysis of the authorities. She held that prejudice or its absence would not normally be particularly relevant to the question of ‘good reason’; and that in any event the Council would be prejudiced by permitting an out-of-time claim to proceed notwithstanding the extension to the standstill period. She also confirmed that the shortness of the extension would not be a good reason for extending time.

The case is a further example of the Court’s strict approach to issues of limitation in procurement claims, and offers helpful guidance on the interaction between the limitation and standstill periods.

Rupert Paines acted for the Council, instructed by Colin Ricciardello of Sharpe Pritchard LLP.