The Hearing Panel is the tribunal set up by the OPR to hear and determine Challenge Proceedings. The Hearing Panel will comprise members of the OPR’s Board and/ or Management. You can visit the OPR’s website www.oprtt.org
to learn more about the current members of the Board and Management.
The review will be done in an independent and impartial manner, in accordance with the Procedural Hearing Rules and Procedure for Part V Challenge Proceedings, a copy of which is available on the OPR’s website www.oprtt.org
Any person who has a direct or indirect personal interest in a matter will not sit as a Member of the Hearing Panel which will hear and determine that matter.
Powers of the Hearing Panel
The Hearing Panel has powers relating to:
Within three (3) days of receipt of an Application for Review (Form 8) the Hearing Panel
- order the suspension of the procurement proceedings at any time before the entry into force of the procurement contract; or
- order the suspension of the performance of a procurement contract or the operation of a framework agreement that has entered into force.
The Hearing Panel will manage each case in a fair and just manner and give directions to the parties to ensure that the matter is resolved within twenty (20) working days as required by the Act. Some of these directions include:
- simplification or clarification of the issues;
- identification and decision on preliminary objections; and
- deadlines for the submission of witness statements and skeletal submissions.
The Hearing Panel can dismiss an Application for Review:
Ordering certain action upon the conclusion of the Challenge proceeding
- that is manifestly without merit;
- that has not been submitted within the stipulated time limits (section 50(2) of the Act); or
- where the Applicant does not show sufficient standing i.e. they do not have a pecuniary or otherwise economic interest in the procurement proceedings.
After hearing the parties, the Hearing Panel will decide on the matters raised in the Application for Review and can make the following orders:
- Prohibit a procuring entity from acting in a manner or taking a decision or following a procedure that is not in compliance with the Act;
- Require a procuring entity to take a decision or to proceed in a manner that is in compliance with the Act;
- Confirm a decision of a procuring entity;
- Overturn the award of a procurement contract or a framework agreement that entered into force in a manner that is not in compliance with the Act, and direct the publication of the notice that the award was overturned;
- Direct the termination of the procurement proceedings;
- Dismiss the Application for Review; and
- Require the payment of compensation for:
- reasonable costs incurred by a supplier or contractor submitting the Application for Review;
- any loss or damages suffered i.e. the costs of the preparation of the submission or the costs relating to the Application for Review, or both.
The Hearing Panel does not:
• Provide legal advice to aggrieved suppliers or contractors on the content of its Application for Review;
• Provide legal advice to a procuring entity on the content of its Reply;
• Deal with contract management issues which arise after the award of contract; and
• Disclose information which would:
i. impair the protection of essential security interests of the State;
ii. be contrary to law;
iii. impede law enforcement;
iv. prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of the suppliers or contractors; and
v. impede fair competition.
How can the Hearing Panel’s decisions be reviewed?
A procuring entity or any other person who is entitled to be given an opportunity to make representations in Challenge proceedings may request the Public Procurement Review Board (“PPRB”) to review the Hearing Panel’s:
- Order of suspension
- Decision at the end of the Challenge proceeding.
The PPRB is separate from the OPR and its members are appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition. The request for review must be made within twenty-one (21) working days of the making of the order or decision of the Hearing Panel.
A party to a review may subsequently appeal against the decision of the PPRB to the High Court within twenty-eight (28) days of the PPRB’s decision.