Public procurement is an area of economic relations in which commodities, services or works are procured by state or municipal bodies, organisations or companies and state and/or municipal budget money is used to pay for the commodities, services or works. The objectives of public procurements are to ensure transparency in the economic activities of the public sector and to create conditions for suppliers/vendors to compete in a fair manner.
In the course of public procurement, disputes between contracting authorities and suppliers over the terms and conditions of the contract, the contracting authority’s actions or the decisions taken are very common, and the assistance of a qualified lawyer at an early stage of a dispute can often have a very significant impact on the final outcome of the dispute.
As disputes between contracting authorities and suppliers often prevent the contracting authority from urgent purchase of the commodities, services or works it needs, or from implementing important projects, the state has taken various measures to reduce the number of such disputes (for example, court actions in public procurement cases are currently subject to relatively high stamp duty). It is therefore important for contracting authorities to draw up appropriate, non-discriminatory tender conditions and to properly assess the claims submitted by suppliers in order to protect themselves against the potential obligation to pay substantial litigation costs; accordingly, it is essential for suppliers to submit reasoned requests or claims in due time to the contracting authority without delay, if they are afraid of losing a case, for fear of forfeiting the substantial amounts of stamp duty paid. Since public procurement is regulated not only by a rather large-scale Law on Public Procurement of the Republic of Lithuania, orders of the Director of the Public Procurement Office and recommendations, but also by a number of Lithuanian court cases on certain issues not clearly regulated by the law; in this area of the law, in order to avoid disputes, to assess the outcome of a dispute or to prepare for it properly, one often does not have to rely on the assistance of a professional lawyer specialising in public procurements.
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