Serco Ltd v Secretary of State for Defence

Public procurement – Public contracts. It was well established that a general reference to an alleged breach of the Defence and Security Public Contract Regulations 2011, SI 2011/1848 (the 2011 Regulations), was not enough; the notice had to identify the actual breach complained of. What mattered was a clear statement of the alleged breach by reference to those Regulations, and a stated intention to commence proceedings. Applying those principles, the Technology and Construction Court dismissed the application by the Secretary of State for Defence to strike out certain passages in Serco Ltd's claim, seeking to challenge a procurement exercise carried out by the Ministry of Defence. The court took the view that although Serco could only rely on the 2011 Regulations, the information Serco had identified in its two pre-action letters made it clear that its attack was on the whole of the scoring criteria.

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