Joseph Barrett acts in EU challenge to £120m leisure concession


Joseph Barrett acted for the claimant, Wealden Leisure Limited, in this challenge under Art. 56 TFEU and s.2 of the European Communities Act 1972 (“the 1972 Act”) to the award of a £120m leisure services concession contract (Wealden Leisure Limited v Mid-Sussex District Council HC14F01304). Following an order for early specific disclosure handed down on 16 July 2014, the parties entered into pre-trial mediation and the dispute has now settled on confidential terms.

The litigation is notable in that it: (i) illustrates that procurements of concession contracts (which fall outside the Public Contracts Regulations 2006) can be effectively challenged in High Court claims for breach of statutory duty under the 1972 Act, as opposed to proceeding by way of judicial review, (ii) confirms the importance of obtaining early specific disclosure in EU procurement challenges (a summary of the judgment of Andrew Hochauser KC can be found in the public procurement law review at: P.P.L.R. 2014, 6, NA192-NA193), and (iii) shows that unsuccessful bidders can enforce their rights under EU law even in, arguably, unpromising circumstances. In the present case, Wealden was the third placed tenderer in the procurement.

Joseph Barrett of 11KBW acted for the claimant, Wealden Leisure Limited.