The recent case of Turning Point v Norfolk County Council is the first reported case in which the new 30 day limitation period is addressed.

The outcome in that case is the Court strictly upheld the limitation so Turning Point were held to be out of time in issuing proceedings to overturn the Council's award of a contract to another party, which were issued not far short of 7 weeks after the "clock " started running.

The 30 day period begins with the date when the economic operator ( i.e. bidder) first knew or ought to have known that grounds for starting the proceedings had arisen.

That clock was assessed by the judge as starting when Turning Point put in a non-compliant tender. So what was the non -compliance? It was adding in a qualification to the price offered in its tender when the Council , had stipulated no qualifications, caveats or variant bids would be accepted. Turning Point argued the information they had to bid on given by the Council left them with no option but to qualify their price.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Turning Points's position the judge also upheld the Council's right to exclude their bid. The judge also refused to extend the 30 day time period as the Court is able to if it (quotes) "considers that there is good reason for doing so". The judge indicated that something beyond Turning Point's control had to have occurred to extend the time period, and that did not arise.

The point to note is that the courts will enforce time limits strictly. There is little scope for dragging your heels and not issuing proceedings if you know or have a reasonably good idea of why a tender has been rejected. The justification for delaying issuing proceedings appears to have to be pretty compelling to persuade Courts not to treat the 30 days as a guillotine.