On 20 March 2014 prof Geo Quinot participated in a session dealing with international trends in procurement dispute resolution at the Procurement Week 2014 organised by the Institute for Competition and Procurement Studies. The annual Procurement Week of the ICPS, sponsored by the Welsh Government, took place from 17 to 21 March 2014 in Cardiff, Wales under the theme “A 2020 vision: Public Procurement Insights and Mega Trends”.
Quinot presented the findings of comparative research on supplier remedies in African procurement systems. The other speakers in the session were Frank Brunetta, Procurement Ombudsman of Canada; Michael Bowsher, QC of Monckton Chambers, London and Alexandre Motta, Managing Director of the School of Administration in the Ministry of Finance of Brazil, who each shared their perspectives on dispute resolution in procurement contexts within their respective systems.
In debate following the individual presentations questions were raised about the suitability of courts as primary vehicles for resolving disputes in public procurement. In particular the current approaches to reliance on ADR to resolve disputes in various stages of the procurement process were discussed. Participants noted that it was especially difficult to implement ADR approaches in respect of disputes during the adjudication stage of public procurement. Particular problems that commonly emerge in this context are the constitutional nature of these disputes making them not suitable to private dispute resolution processes as well as the necessity of including all bidders in a dispute resolution mechanism during the adjudication stage, which is challenging in most ADR mechanisms. Panel members noted that the statutory solution in Canada involving the Procurement Ombudsman seems a good approach.