Cleaver Fulton Rankin welcomes ruling on NI public procurement policy
Belfast-based Cleaver Fulton Rankin has welcomed a significant judicial review ruling which clarifies the legislative position on the recruitment of specific professional services organisations during public procurement exercises.
The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) brought the proceedings against the Education Authority for Northern Ireland (EANI) on the basis that its decision to prohibit CIAT from acting as lead consultant for a range of construction contracts was irrational and unlawful as it contravened the Northern Ireland Public Procurement Policy (NIPPP).
CIAT’s application was dismissed by Mr Justice Humphreys, who held: “Both on the evidence and as a matter of legal principle, I am satisfied that the respondent was entitled to impose the requirement that only architects could act as lead consultants.”
The decision has considerable significance for the architectural industry across Northern Ireland as it has clarified that public authorities have the right to exclude certain parties from the procurement process if necessary for the relevant exercise.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin acted on behalf of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA), which was granted leave to participate in the judicial review as a notice party. RSUA was represented by director Brendan Martyn and senior solicitor Stephen Masterson.
Mr Martyn said: “This was an important case for the RSUA and the architects’ profession and it required very complex legal technical arguments from both the Education Authority and the RSUA.
“Thankfully, the judge was persuaded by the arguments forwarded by both the EANI and Mr Philip McEvoy BL and Cleaver Fulton Rankin on behalf of the RSUA and the outcome is therefore to be welcomed.”