Automatic Suspension
Produced in partnership with Deborah Ramshaw of Womble Bond Dickinson

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Deborah Ramshaw of Womble Bond Dickinson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Automatic Suspension
  • Automatic suspension
  • American Cyanamid
  • Lifting the Automatic Suspension

Automatic Suspension

Automatic suspension

The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, SI 2015/102 (PCR 2015), which govern procurements above EU thresholds (see Practice Note: Introduction to public procurement law), automatically impose a requirement that prevents a contracting authority from entering into a contract when the authority becomes aware of a claim setting out an alleged breach of the regulations or any other enforceable EU obligations in the public procurement field. This is known as 'automatic suspension'.

The contracting authority can apply to the court to have the automatic suspension set aside, and the court may make an interim order.

An application to lift an automatic suspension (through an interim order) will still be considered on the usual American Cyanamid basis (see below). This has been confirmed in a number of subsequent judgments.

American Cyanamid

The award of an interim injunction bringing an end to the automatic suspension is dependent on the American Cyanamid test:

  1. the aggrieved bidder establishes that there is a serious issue to be tried, and

  2. the balance of convenience favours the grant of the injunction (ie damages would not provide an adequate remedy)

In determining the balance of convenience and applying its discretion, the court will consider any potential harm the delaying of the project will have to public interest.

In European Dynamics an interim injunction had been granted on the basis of the American Cyanamid principles without notice to the

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