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R (on the application of HARROW SOLICITORS & ADVOCATES) v LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION

The critical factor which gave rise to a duty to seek clarification of a tender was where the tender as it stood could not be properly considered because it was ambiguous or incomplete or contained an obvious clerical error rendering that part of the bid suspect.

9 May 2011

The claimant firm of solicitors (H) applied for judicial review of the refusal of its appeal by the defendant Legal Services Commission (LSC) against their decision not to award H a contract to undertake publicly-funded immigration work. The LSC invited tenders from law firms in respect of the work. The tender submission period was eight weeks. The day before the deadline, H completed its form but mistakenly answered "no" in answering a question as to whether the firm offered a regular drop-in session per week. The LSC awarded points for particular answers in the questionnaire. H's bid failed because it did not secure the 33 points required to gain an immigration work contract. It scored 31 points. H would have scored the necessary extra two points if it had answered "yes" to the question. H did offer drop-in sessions. On being informed of the LSC's decision, and realising its error, H appealed. The LSC rejected the appeal on the basis that the "Information for Applicants" document ...

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