On 28 February 2020, the High Court handed down judgment in Ryhurst Limited v Whittington Health NHS Trust (judgment available here).
Ryhurst had been appointed preferred bidder following a procurement for a 10-15 year Strategic Estates Partnership to assist with rationalisation and redevelopment of the Trust’s estate, just prior to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Ryhurst is part of the Rydon Group, another company which was the design and build contractor for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment, in which, it has been widely reported, inflammable cladding was installed.
The Trust paused the procurement following the Grenfell tragedy, decided to continue, but later (in 2018) abandoned the procurement for a number of stated reasons including the lack of stakeholder support for the intended partnership. Ryhurst sued for damages, alleging that the Trust’s only real reason for abandonment was the link between Ryhurst and Grenfell, or public ‘pressure’ arising from that link, and that that was unlawful in EU law. That claim was dismissed. The Court’s judgment is now the leading domestic authority on the application of general principles of EU law to an abandonment decision, and also establishes principles of interest concerning the duty of equal treatment, and the application of domestic public law in a procurement challenge.
Jason Coppel QC and Rupert Paines acted for the Trust, instructed by Laura Brealey and Kyle Duggan of Bevan Brittan LLP.