Discontinuing a procurement process
Produced in partnership with Andrew Millross of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP
Discontinuing a procurement process

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Andrew Millross of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Discontinuing a procurement process
  • Brexit impact—public procurement
  • Introduction
  • The discretion to discontinue
  • Process to discontinue
  • Challenging a decision to discontinue
  • Summary of key points

Brexit impact—public procurement

The UK public procurement regime derives from EU public procurement laws, and is therefore impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For general updates on the process and preparations for Brexit, see Practice Note: Brexit timeline. For further reading on the impact of Brexit on public procurement, see Practice Note: Brexit—the implications for public procurement.


A local authority or other contracting authority (in this Practice Note, an Authority) may decide to discontinue an award procedure. This Practice Note covers:

  1. the discretion to discontinue and when the exercise of that discretion can be challenged

  2. the procedural steps that an Authority must take when discontinuing, and

  3. the process of challenging a decision to discontinue and the consequences of a successful challenge

The discretion to discontinue

Extent of the discretion to discontinue

In Embassy Limousines, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) confirmed that an Authority 'is not bound to follow through to its end a procedure for awarding a contract'. The case involved a contract to provide chauffeur-driven vehicles for the European Parliament which was being procured under the open procedure. The European Parliament said that the reason they had discontinued the procedure was due to concerns that the requirement for tenderers to have five years’ experience, which was in the Official Journal of the