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What Next For Procurement Review Tribunals?

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By Cyber Era Reporter

EBRD Legal Transition Programme/Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD) in cooperation with the Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law are putting together a webinar themed: What Next for Procurement Review Tribunals? Recent Challenges and Reforms. The virtual event holds over Zoom between 10:00 and 12:00(London time) on February 17, 2021.

The governments operate ex-ante monitoring of public procurement but best results are achieved through a robust public procurement review system where the suppliers use their incentives to seek redress to preserve their business opportunities. Independent and impartial public procurement review safeguards suppliers from arbitrary decisions of government contracting authorities and helps preserve the integrity of public procurement systems.

Transparent and efficient public procurement review systems have been actively promoted by international regulatory standards, such as the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Public Procurement, World Trade Organisation Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA) and the European Union Directives. International instruments advocate assigning complaints review tasks to commercial courts or independent specialised administrative review bodies. In the EBRD countries of operations, the examples of such an approach are Albania, Armenia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Ukraine and, most recently, Georgia. To support newly appointed independent administrative tribunals, the EBRD UNCITRAL Public Procurement Reform Initiative collected global best practice on procedural fairness in public procurement review and a guide “Key Judicial Skills and Competencies: A Handbook for Members of Public Procurement Review Tribunals” (the Handbook) was first published in 2015. You can find the electronic copy of the Handbook in English and Russian languages on the EBRD website​.

Currently, public procurement review bodies confront with quite a few challenges – increasingly sophisticated procurement disputes, complaint backlogs, transition to digital government systems, further necessitated by COVID-19 lockdowns and issues arising from emergency procurements carried out in circumstances of the pandemic. With this in mind, the webinar intends to highlight practical solutions for meeting the challenges and increasing the capacity of institutions in charge of public procurement review.

The webinar will discuss:

  • the public procurement review practice when confronted by COVID-19 pandemic, as reported by review body members;
  • procedural fairness challenges and guidance offered by the Handbook;
  • latest reform experience from review bodies of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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