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The execution of a tender procedure for translation services

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  • Case: 3018/2009/(TN)(TS)TN
    Opened on 28 Jan 2010 - Decision on 22 Jun 2011
  • Institution(s) concerned: Court of Justice of the European Union
  • Field(s) of law: General, financial and institutional matters
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Proportionality [Article 6 ECGAB],Legitimate expectations, consistency and advice [Article 10 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Award of tenders or grants
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Copyright: Stocklib © Oleksiy Mark

Summary of decision on complaint 3018/2009/(TN)(TS)TN (confidential) against the Court of Justice of the European Union

The complainant participated in a call for tender for translation services organised by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the 'Court'). His bid was excluded from the tender procedure because the price he offered was considered excessive.

In his complaint to the Ombudsman, the complainant alleged that the Court had wrongly excluded his bid. Given that the award criterion was "best value for money", he questioned how his bid could be rejected on the grounds that the price was "excessive".

The Court explained that the tender procedure was a "negotiated procedure". It argued that the possibility to negotiate would be without substance if it were obliged to accept a bid offering an excessive price despite having asked the tenderer to negotiate. It noted that all tenderers were invited to negotiate their prices and they were all informed that the bids still offering an excessive price would be rejected. The complainant decided not to reduce his price.

The Ombudsman found that, in all tender procedures, it is good administration to make efforts to ensure that bids offering the best value for money are obtained. He also considered that maximum budgets can be set in relation to the procurement of products and services. Moreover, tenderers in a negotiated procedure do not have a legitimate expectation to be awarded a contract without having to adapt a submitted bid. The Ombudsman also found that, according to the contract notice, the Court was permitted to evaluate bids having regard to the criteria stated in the invitation to negotiate. The criterion in the invitation to negotiate outlined that the prices quoted should not be excessive.

The Ombudsman concluded that the tender procedure in question respected the principles of sound financial management, equal treatment, and fairness.

In light of the above, the Ombudsman concluded that the Court did not commit an instance of maladministration.

With a view to improving further the Court's tender procedures, the Ombudsman made a further remark suggesting that the Court could consider providing more information to tenderers about the type of tender procedure it has chosen to use.