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Public procurement

Norway’s public sector spent NOK 462 billion on products and services in 2016. From a situation where in practice procurement was solely at the buyer’s discretion, we have seen the introduction of a significant amount of new legislation. The Norwegian Public Procurement Complaints Board (KOFA) plays a key role through its advisory statements, and regained the authority in 2017 to impose penalties on procurement principals who use direct procurement illegally. Harris offers the strongest team in Western Norway in this area of expertise.

Contact persons

For almost 20 years, Harris has assisted suppliers, procurement principals and KOFA on public procurements.

We have assisted suppliers in all stages of the process, but with a natural emphasis on the issue of whether a mistake has been made when the supplier raises this possibility. This typically applies when questions arise about whether a provider should have been rejected or not, whether the process should have been cancelled or not, or whether the evaluation and allocations have been carried out in accordance with the regulations.

We have assisted procurement principals throughout the process – from advising on whether a procurement is covered by the regulations via the choice of competition and use of criteria, to issues concerning the rejection, cancellation and selection of providers. To date, the vast majority of our cases have been resolved amicably, and the exceptions, in the form of KOFA complaints, have all been resolved positively.

Examples of the support we provide:

  • Quality assurance of the tender documents, process selection
  • Assessment of issues relating to clarification, rejection, evaluation and cancellation
  • Quality assurance of procurement principals’ evaluation and selection of supplier
  • Correspondence on behalf of supplier/procurement principal
  • Assistance in appeals before KOFA, for either side
  • Assistance in legal disputes before the district court, appellate court and Supreme Court of Norway, including preliminary injunctions
  • Answering general questions, running courses

The lawyers in our team have acquired experience from all the different courts, including the EFTA Court and the Court of the ICC. We have also litigated in procurement law before the Supreme Court of Norway.

One of our lawyers has previously worked as the Head of the Secretariat for KOFA.

Our team carried out assignments on behalf of KOFA. In 2015, Harris won a national competition to be KOFA’s counsel in cases where penalties for violations were imposed. We have been successful in the cases we have litigated.

Some of our lawyers have also taught on the subject at the University of Bergen and lectured on public procurement, both about the rules in general and on highly specialised topics.

The team’s expertise is founded on comprehensive training and education and practical experience. Our foundation is based on Norwegian law, Norwegian regulations and Norwegian resolutions. However, the legislation must follow EU directives, and EU case law is extremely important. By studying EU/EEA law at King’s College London and the University of Leiden and acquiring extensive experience from ESA, Harris’ lawyers are well equipped to see the rules in context, and thereby ensure the appropriate interpretation.

Relevant articles about public procurement: 

Krav til klarhet skapte uenighet i KOFA

Nye regler for offentlige anskaffelser fra 1.1.2017 – Betydningen for entreprenører og andre i byggebransjen