For Santa, deciding which reindeer should pull the sleigh was a simple matter of identifying the reddest nose but in the absence of distinguishing features how do you decide between two bids of equal merit? Research on this immediately led me to PLC a respectable source of sound legal advice which delivered the verdict that it was best to avoid the situation altogether by providing for a tie breaker in the tender documentation. All very well but what if there is no tie breaker? Well it’s amazing these days what a couple of minutes browsing the results of a popular search engine can unearth. In this case, an article on a case in Canada where the award of a federal government contract was decided on a coin toss. Not just one coin toss but a best of three. The coin toss took several months of careful preparation to set up and required an agreement on who the person tossing the coin should be, where the coin should be tossed and even what denomination of coin it was (a quarter since you ask).

Apparently some small print in a government manual does indeed provide for a coin toss in the case of a tie and it was in fact quite regularly used at State and City level!

Notwithstanding that a coin toss does seem almost the ultimate in objective judgement it’s probably better practice to follow the steady advice of PLC and try to avoid the situation in the first place.