Following Uniplex (UK) Limited v NHS Business Services Authority (Case C-406/08)
, the Public Contracts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2011 (in force from 1 October 2011) have introduced a new time limit for damages claims, as follows:
a limit of 30 days from the day on which the economic operator first knew or ought to have known that grounds for starting the proceedings had arisen (called “the date of knowledge” ); and
discretion for the court to extend this where there is a good reason for doing so, but only up to a maximum of three months from the date of knowledge.
These new limits will apply to all cases where the date of knowledge occurs on or after 1 October 2011. For cases where it occurred earlier, the limit will continue to be the old limit as interpreted in the way required by the ECJ, ie, three months from the date of knowledge, with unlimited discretion for the court to extend. The last day of the 30 day period must be a working day.
As stated above, this regime applies only to damages claims. Any claim for a declaration of ineffectiveness (as opposed to damages) would need to be brought within the earlier of 30 days from either the issue of an award letter to the unsuccessful bidder or publication of an award notice, or six months from the date of contract award.