News & Views

Public Procurement Appeals in Finland

19 October 2023

Authors: Outi Jousi, Eeva Tiainen, and Annika Tiitola

When a bidder is not happy with the outcome of a public tendering competition, it is possible to ask the buyer, i.e. “the contracting authority”, to change its decision. It is also possible to ask for a re-tender if the original materials were too unclear.

The procedures vary in each country. In this blog post, we aim to give you a brief overview of the appeal procedure in Finland.

As a general rule, it is possible to file an appeal if the scoring of points has not been done correctly, if the bidder has been excluded from the tendering competition based on false grounds, or if there are other similar grounds for challenging the decision. The contracting authorities (the public sector buyers) should arrange a clear and transparent tendering competition and follow carefully the rules of fair and equal tendering. The main grounds for appeals are:

1) The bidder should have been treated differently (more points, no exclusion, etc.)

2) The other bidder should have been excluded (there is something wrong with their reference, their bid is abnormally low, their product does not comply with the mandatory requirements, etc.) or received less points

3) The request for proposal has been unclear (the tendering competition was not clear and transparent), and

4) There has not been a tendering competition, but the product or service has been bought directly, illegally, from a competitor.

In such cases, there is a possibility to appeal to the Market Court. The deadline for appeals is usually 14 days after receiving the original decision. However, what we usually recommend is submitting, at the same time, a request or demand for rectification to the buyer. It is possible for the buyer to change its decision. This makes the process much faster and more cost-effective.

The Market Court charges a fee for lodging an appeal, which varies roughly between EUR 2,000 – 6,000 depending on the value of the deal. The court has wide discretion regarding the actual legal fees and may order the losing party to pay the winner’s fees in part or in total.

Public procurement appeals are very common in Finland, with approximately 300-500 appeals being lodged annually. According to our knowledge, a third of the appeals are successful, leading to re-tendering or re-assessing the original decision.

Winning bidders may also be asked to submit statements to the Market Court in order to voice their opinion about e.g. how clear the request for proposal documents were. This is also very typical in Finland.

We are happy to assess the outcomes of tendering competitions. Please feel free to contact our public procurement team for more information.

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