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The Bulgarian Supreme Court has repealed cumbersome fee rates under the Public Procurement Act

Pursuant to a judgement dated 29 February 2016, the Bulgarian Supreme Court repealed Regulation no 196 of the Council of Ministers of 10 July 2014 with respect to the approval of the fee rates applicable to proceedings under Chapter Eleven of the Public Procurement Act before the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court (promulgated in The State Gazette, no 58 of 15 July 2014 and entered into force on 15 July 2014).

The Commission for the Protection of Competition had applied such fee rates for an extended period of time to collect fees in the amount of 2% of the estimated value of public procurement contracts with a maximum of BGN 15,000 (approx. 7,500 euro). Additional fees were collected in the appeal procedure against the decisions.

The legal community, as well as the bidders, in public procurement tenders criticized the fee rates because of the barriers imposed in exercising their right to contest any proceedings related to public procurement contracts.

The Supreme Court repealed the fee rates definitively. The court argued that the procedural violations in the adoption of the fee rates are due to the flaws in the transparency process required for law enactment, and it further upheld that the fees calculated in accordance with those rates failed to meet the requirements laid down in the State Fees Act.

The new fee rate schedule in Bulgaria now stipulates that the maximum amount is limited to BGN 5,000 (for public procurement contracts worth more than BGN 5,000,000), all of which shall enter into effect in late 2016 together with the new Public Procurement Act.