Sunday 22 September 2019

Judge says legal costs 'out of all proportion' to contract

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed the award of the contract should be set aside (stock photo)
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed the award of the contract should be set aside (stock photo)

Tim Healy

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision setting aside the awarding of a contract for the supply of interpreters for the State's immigration service and Legal Aid Board.

Word Perfect Translation Services Ltd was the losing bidder in a 2016 competition to provide the service which was organised by an office within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

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Word Perfect had been supplying a translation service to the State since 2007.

The winning bidder was Forbidden City Ltd, trading as Translation.ie.

Word Perfect brought a challenge which the High Court dismissed.

The Court of Appeal (CoA) however overturned that decision last June. The Minister for Public Enterprise and Reform appealed that decision. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed the award of the contract should be set aside.

Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, on behalf of the Supreme Court, said it was upholding one of the grounds of "manifest error" on which the CoA had made its decision but set aside the other.

The contract involved in the case has already expired, he noted.

The costs involved in this litigation "must surely be out of all proportion to the value of the contract to the State parties involved and the respective tenderers," the judge said.

Irish Independent

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