On 24 March 2021 the Finnish Market Court issued two important precedent-setting judgements on procurements made by the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS). One decision concerned the direct procurement of COVID-19 related analysis equipment and laboratory premises, while the other related to COVID-19 related PCR analysis services. The estimated value of the said procurements, which rank among the largest hospital procurements in 2020, amounted to approximately EUR 110 million in total.
The Market Court was called to assess, for the first time in Finland, whether COVID-19 related direct procurements had been carried out in accordance with procurement regulations. The Market Court particularly had to determine whether the contracts had been legitimately awarded on the grounds of extreme urgency brought on by unforeseeable circumstances that were beyond the control of the contracting authority.
While the Market Court ruled in one of the cases that the additional five-month extension option for the ten-month lease agreement of COVID-19 analysis capacity was not strictly necessary, and thus prohibited its implementation, the Court did ultimately find that the stringent statutory conditions for urgency-based direct procurements were otherwise fully met in both cases.
Borenius represented HUS at the Finnish Market Court in both cases. The Market Court’s judgements are final.