Legal Updates

A 15-minute delay in submitting a bid for a tender justifies disqualification of the bid

April 7, 2021

A lawyer was 15 minutes late in submitting 31 envelopes for a tender published by the Israel Lands Authority which included offers of 76 bidders to a plots marketing lottery designated for building housing units for non-homeowners local residence of the Abu Sanan local authority. The bids were disqualified even though the delay was, as contended by the bidders, due to a delay in obtaining eligibility approval from the Ministry of Defense due to the corona epidemic.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and held that there is no defect in the decision not to accept the bids for the tender. Under Israeli law, the tenders committee will not accept bids that were not found in the tender box at the deadline for submission. Deviation from this rule may be only in limited and very exceptional cases (such as in cases of delay due to the failure of the authority or force majeure) to avoid complication of tender procedures, prevent a slippery slope and prevent violation of the principle of equality. This case was not an exceptional case that justifies deviation from the rule. The deadline for submission of bids was postponed three times when it was clear that a delay would result in non-acceptance of the bid and the rest of the bidders were able to meet the schedule. The bidders whose bid was rejected did not contend in real time any difficulties or delays before submitting their bid and did not even apply for a postponement of the deadline for submitting bids in the tender. Only two bidders received the approvals on same day of the deadline set for submitting the bids and the delay of the whole group was probably due to the waiting of the lawyer who handled the bids jointly and thus it is not an exception justifying deviation from the law and the tender rules.