Public Procurement Law Reform Concluded

After a 5-year legislation process, the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, approved the draft law for the modernization of the law on the awarding of contracts (Bundesrat Printed matter 35/09). This means that a new set of rules will soon apply for orders in the public sector. The regulations are expected to come into force in March upon publication in the Federal Law Gazette.

"The reform has removed several formal hurdles to the awarding of contracts", Düsseldorf-based award lawyer Dr. Ute Jasper comments. "There is still, however, the complicated cascade of laws consisting of the Act against Restraints on Competition (GWB), the Award Regulation, as well as the Construction Contract Procedures (VOB), the Contracting Rules for the Award of Public Works (VOL) and the Professional Services Contract Regulations (VOF). So it can hardly be said that bureaucracy is being cut."

There is still no special German regulation for intercommunal collaborations that remained disputed until the end. The FDP party and small and medium-sized companies got their way. The relatively strict requirements of the European Court of Justice continue to apply, which do not allow local authorities to award orders to another local authority without competition. Joint local authority companies, however, remain possible without a contract award procedure.

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