Joseph Barrett and Rupert Paines act in major Covid-19 testing challenge


The Good Law Project recently obtained permission to bring judicial review proceedings in relation to DHSC’s award of several contracts (worth at least £90m) for the development and supply of lateral flow antibody tests, to a consortium led by Abingdon Health plc (“AH”), without any advertisement or competition for the contracts.

The grant of permission covers claims of (i) apparent bias and predetermination, concerning links between AH’s consortium and the Government’s advisor on Covid-19 testing, Professor Sir John Bell, who appears to have played a role in the award decisions; (ii) nationality discrimination (the Government having repeatedly emphasised the ‘British’ or ‘home-grown’ nature of the tests); (iii) breach of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015; (iv) irrationality; and (v) state aid, in circumstances in which the Government appears to have directed millions of pounds of subsidy to AH via the contracts. The case has been widely reported, including here, here and here.

Joseph Barrett and Rupert Paines act for the Good Law Project, instructed by Alex Rook and Alice Cullingworth of Rook Irwin Sweeney LLP.