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Eurotunnel challenge to ferry contracts withdrawn


Eurotunnel and the Secretary of State for Transport have today settled Eurotunnel’s challenge to contracts awarded by the Government to Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight to provide additional freight capacity between the UK and continental Europe.   The capacity contracts were intended to deal with the consequences of disruption to existing freight transport in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and to ensure the flow of medical supplies and other high priority goods, and were procured under the ‘extreme urgency’ provisions in regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Eurotunnel challenged this procurement as unlawful under the Regulations. The Secretary of State denied that Eurotunnel had standing to make such a challenge and denied all the claims.  Brittany Ferries and DFDS were given leave to intervene by Stuart-Smith J at a hearing on Monday 25 February 2019 in order to support the Secretary of State’s position at trial.

Eurotunnel’s challenge to the contracts has been withdrawn, and Eurotunnel has been awarded a further contract to implement measures improving security and traffic flow at the border.

The procurement claim was due to be heard by Mr Justice Stuart-Smith in the Technology & Construction Court between 1 and 6 March 2019.

Marie Demetriou QC and Hugo Leith (instructed by Latham & Watkins LLP) acted for Brittany Ferries.

Aidan Robertson QC (instructed by HFW) acted for DFDS.


The settlement is reported in mLex and The Lawyer and by the BBC.