Copymoore v Commissioner of Public Works: adding new grounds to proceedings out of time

Concept - businessman who has failedAlthough it is in the public interest that such proceedings are resolved promptly, under Public Procurement Regulations, the requirement that good reason is shown to amend judicial review proceedings does not require the applicant to show a factor unknown at the time of issue.

Background

Copymoore was challenging actions by the Commissioner under a PPR competition. It sought to amend proceedings, adding two grounds, out of time. One ground, relating to the Commissioner’s capacity to exercise a power, was previously argued and ommitted through an oversight. The other, a new ground, was a claim for compensation. The High Court refused to allow Copymoore to add either ground stating that the test of “good and sufficient reason” required an applicant show that the factor was not in existence or was unknown to the applicant within the time limit–a mere oversight will not suffice. Copymoore appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

Judgment

Charleton J (here) held that the High Court view was over strict. He listed the considerations for a judge to consider in such applications to include, not just the public interest in the prompt resolution of disputes, but also the conduct of the parties and the interest of points which are applicable to similar situations being argued and resolved by the High Court. As the capacity issue was previously argued, it would not surprise or prejudice the Commissioner, and the Court allowed that addition. The second, though, was a new point and no good reason was given as to why it was omitted or should be permitted out of time; the Court did not allow that issue to be added.

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  1. 2014 Review: November | scoirl

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