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COBALT successfully represented the marketing communications agency HAVAS in a public procurement dispute

2020-12-14

COBALT successfully represented a fully integrated marketing communications agency HAVAS (AS Idea AD) in a dispute regarding the results of a public procurement organised by the Enterprise Estonia. Our client was declared the successful bidder in this public procurement, and the results were disputed by the public relations agency Alfa-Omega Communications.

The Public Procurement Review Committee, the Administrative Court and the Circuit Court rejected the appeal of Alfa-Omega Communications. The Supreme Court agreed (Administrative Case No. 3-20-1198).

In its judgment of 11 December 2020, the Supreme Court thoroughly explained the preconditions for the legality of evaluation decisions made in an open procurement procedure and the scope of judicial review, specifying the current practice. In reviewing decisions based on a wide discretion, the courts can no longer confine themselves to finding a manifest error of assessment, but must begin to examine the merits of the evaluations of the  tender, in particular whether the assessment took into account relevant, complete and substantiated facts and general principles of public procurement and also whether the evaluation was in accordance with the notified evaluation criteria.

In addition, the Supreme Court confirmed the admissibility of general succession during the procurement procedure, agreeing with the previous court decisions and our positions. The question arose due to the fact that Idea PR OÜ submitted a tender prior to merging with Idea AD AS. By the time the tender was declared successful Idea PR OÜ was deleted from the commercial register.

The work of COBALT involved representing the client in court proceedings. The client was represented by specialist counsel and senior associate Kadri Matteus and senior associate Artur Knjazev.