Good Law Project’s legal challenge against the Government’s award of multi-million-pound public health contracts to Abingdon Health reaches its judicial review hearing in the High Court on Tuesday 3 May.

Throughout the hearing we will be revealing explosive new examples of ministerial meddling and civil servants’ reactions to it.

Location:         High Court – Technology and Construction Court

Time:               Tuesday 3 May 2022, 10.30am start – the hearing has been listed for 3 days

Claimant:         Good Law Project

Defendant:      Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Details

Public health contracts were awarded to Abingdon Health secretly, without advertisement or competition, and without any lawful decision-making process. Since we launched the case in November 2020, we have heard ever-changing excuses from Government about their conduct, revealed persistent use of private communications channels for important Government business and uncovered a secret VIP process for testing contracts, as we did for PPE contracts.

Background

The first Abingdon contract, awarded in April 2020, was a research grant for £2.5m to develop lateral flow tests. The second, in June 2020, was for £10m to supply components for 10m lateral flow test kits. The third, in August 2020, was for a potential £75m to supply 1 million LFTs for professional use and the option to order a further 9 million home-use tests. All were awarded without advertisement or competition.

The contracts transformed the financial position of Abingdon Health, but despite the very substantial public subsidies and resources which the Government gave, the antibody tests it supplied were entirely unfit for the Government’s intended purpose.

Gemma Abbott, Legal Director at Good Law Project said:

“The Government has struggled to get their story straight on the Abingdon Health shambles. Once again, it’s taken legal action to shine a light on dodgy procurement, wasted millions and preferential treatment for the politically-connected. The Government has fought tooth and nail to prevent this coming to light, at every stage. Accountability shouldn’t be this difficult.”

Good Law Project has instructed Joseph Barrett and Rupert Paines of 11KBW Chambers, Stephanie David of 39 Essex and Rook Irwin Sweeney.

Good Law Project will be tweeting throughout the hearing @GoodLawProject