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Granting concessions

20 January 2012

A new ruling by the Court of Appeal has added to the caselaw setting out the differences between public service contracts and public service concessions. In this case, contracts for the provision of bailiff services with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) were concessions, meaning that the EU procurement directives are not applicable.

The court held that even though the MoJ retained considerable control over how the contract was performed and the scope for exploiting the services further by the contractor was extremely limited the fact that the payment of fees under the contract came from third parties (the debtors) and the risks of management and operation of the service transferred to the contractor were enough to make it a service concession.

The court did acknowledge that the facts of this case didn’t fit neatly into the normal descriptions of either public service contracts or concessions meaning that future cases on the same point may end differently.

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