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We are pleased to say that the Court has granted a Cost Capping Order in our judicial review of Government’s decision to hand a contract to Cummings’ pals at Hanbury without any competition. We will now be able to fight this case to its conclusion.
Crucially, the Judge agreed with us that Government’s estimated costs bill of £450k (almost as much as the contract itself) is ‘disproportionate to a one day hearing’ – and set a cap at £120k for both parties.
Government’s decision not to consent to a cost cap is bizarre and – many of the same arguments were determined by the Court weeks ago in relation to our PPE challenges. It has now tried and failed twice to argue that these are not public interest proceedings. And it has now twice had to bear from the public purse our costs of seeking a cap. This is a phenomenal – and avoidable – further waste of taxpayers’ money.
Here’s what the Judge had to say on Hanbury:
“I start by considering whether or not there is a matter of genuine public interest raised by these proceedings. I am satisfied that there is. This matter concerns the direct award of a public contact without publicity or competition, and the issue is whether it was unlawful to award a contract in that way.”
The Judge went on to say she is “satisfied that there is a part for the courts to play in determining the legality of the procedures” and “it is appropriate that there should be a public hearing that the Court will consider the evidence and make a decision on the lawfulness of this particular procurement”.
We will take this fight all the way. If you are in a position to donate to the legal challenge you can do so here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/a-river-to-my-people/