The public procurement sector has expanded rapidly in Cyprus, following the example of almost all EU member states. To apprehend the vastness of the scale, it is worth mentioning that in the EU, the public purchase of works, goods and services from private services has been estimated to account on average for 16% of GDP.
Public Procurement: Operation in Cyprus
Cyprus has introduced the e-PPS web-based system which facilitates the full lifecycle of the tendering process.
Upon registering in the system, the interested party can use the tools provided therein to prepare and electronically submit requests for participation and tenders to public procurement competitions.
The contracting body will then review the request and proceed to accept or reject it within the timeframe prescribed in the public tender.
Public Procurement: Who can challenge the Contracting's Body decision?
Any interested party who has or had an interest in being awarded a specific contract and who has suffered or may suffer damage, by an act or decision of the contracting authority which precedes the conclusion of the public contract and which is alleged to violate any provision of the applicable law, has the right to appeal before the Tender Review Authority which is the public procurement review body of the Republic of Cyprus.
If the appeal is successful, the tender will be re-examined.
Public Procurement: Where to challenge the decision?
As foreseen in Law 104(I)/2010, the Tenders Review Authority has the discretion to examine recourses against acts or decisions of the Contracting Authorities that violate any provision of the law before or after signing a contract of supplies, services or projects.
Specifically, the Tenders Review Authority has the power:
- To approve or annul the decision of the Contracting Authority.
- To cancel or order the amendment of any term contained in the tender documents.
- To decide whether to grant interim relief such as the suspension of the conclusion of the public contract pending the examination of the substance of the recourse in order to prevent damage to the affected parties.
- To declare a singed public contract ineffective if specific circumstances apply.
- To impose sanctions on Contracting Authorities if the contract was signed illegally.
Public Procurement: Deadlines and Procedure before the Tenders Review Authority
Pursuant to article 21 of L.104 (I)/2010 the recourse should be filed within 15 days from the day following the date on which the decision of the contracting authority or contracting entity was sent to the tenderers concerned.
If the decision was sent via non-electronic means, the deadline for filing the recourse is 15 days from the day following the date on which the decision of the contracting authority was sent or within 10 days following the date of receipt of the decision.
In relation to decisions of the contracting authority containing an invitation of tender or any other decision relating to technical and financial specifications of the tender process, the challenge shall be brought within ten calendar days from the date of publication of the decision.
Following the filing of the recourse and payment of the prescribed fee, the Tenders Review Authority will call the interested parties and decide whether it is a proper case to grant any interim relief (usually to suspend the signing of the contract or the award), considering the public interest as well as the possible consequences to the interest parties.
Thereinafter, the Tenders Review Authority will deal with the substance of the recourse, request the Administrative Authority to file its reply and fix a hearing date.
Note 1: Once the recourse is filed the interested party has the right to inspect the administrative file kept at the offices of the Contracting Authority.
Note 2: The aforementioned deadlines cannot be extended.
Public Procurement: Right to Appeal
Every decision, act or omission of the Tender Review Authority is subject to judicial examination before the Administrative Court in accordance with the provisions of article 146 of the Constitution. Such a recourse shall be filed within 75 days from the date of issuance of the decision of the Tenders Review Authority.
Public Procurement: Right to Damages
Pursuant to article 33 of Law 104 (I) / 2010 the annulment of a decision by the Tender Review Authority creates a right to the interested party, in case it has been damaged, to claim compensation from the contracting authority by bringing an action before the competent District Court.
Public Procurement: Our services
We regularly advice our Clients in their dealings with governmental bodies in a wide spectrum of areas. Our team can offer tailored services including:
- Strategic advice re the dealings and interaction of our Clients with public bodies.
- Advice and assistance on all aspects of Cyprus and European procurement law and policies.
- Representation before the Tender Review Authority to challenge or support the decision of the contracting authority.
- Structuring the tender transaction in light of the legal framework and preparing the tender procedure and tender documents.
- Representation before the Administrative and District Courts (in case of damage).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.