If an order from the government or a government-equivalent body exceeds a certain value, procurement law comes into play. The thinking behind this idea is that everyone should have an equal opportunity to win government contracts. In principle, private parties are not required to put projects out to tender. The key rule in that connection is contracting freedom: the parties themselves are free to choose with whom they wish to enter into contracts, and how. Nonetheless, private parties are sometimes required to comply with certain European tendering principles, including the principle of equal treatment.


There are different types of tendering procedures, such as open tendering procedures, restricted tendering procedures, competitive dialogue tendering and lowest price tendering. Each of these procedures is subject to its own rules and although the operating principles are often clear, they are not always correctly applied, in practice. The order may for example be incorrectly valued, a sound motivation may be lacking, the awarding criteria and selection criteria may be incorrectly applied, faulty strategic or deliberately low submissions may be subsequently corrected, or the entire order may be withdrawn and reissued.


If the rules are incorrectly applied, participants in the tendering procedure can choose to take action, whereby among others, legal considerations may play a role. Once they have decided to take action, the tenderer can choose to appeal either to a complaints authority or the courts.

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