In October 2013, Gatwick Airport Limited (“GAL”) commenced a tender procedure in relation to the provision of air navigation services and maintenance and repair services. The incumbent services provider, NATS (Services) Limited (“NATS”), submitted its best and final offer on 2 June 2014 and was notified in July 2014 that it had been unsuccessful.
NATS challenged the award under the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006 and the contract award was automatically suspended pending trial. The High Court handed down a judgment on 2 October 2014 rejecting an application by GAL for the automatic suspension on the award of the contract to be lifted.
In refusing GAL’s application, the court essentially adopted the reasoning and approach by Coulson J in Covanta Energy Ltd v Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority in respect of the balance of convenience of interim relief in EU procurement cases. It held that it would not be possible accurately or fairly to quantify any award of damages but that any extra cost to GAL of sourcing interim services in the period until trial could be easily quantified and so addressed by a cross-undertaking in damages which was offered by NATS. In all the circumstances, the just approach was for interim relief to be maintained and the substantive issues to be determined at an expedited trial.
This is the latest in a growing line of cases on the issue of interim relief in EU procurement litigation.
NATS (Services) Ltd v Gatwick Airport Ltd  EWHC 3728 (TCC)