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Applicability of the Slovenian Public Procurement Act for legal services

The article, published in Pravna praksa no. 7/2019, pages 6 to 81, elaborates on the rules that apply for each of the listed cases.

When awarding a contract for legal services (which also include lawyer’s services) pursuant to the Slovenian Public Procurement Act (ZJN-3), public contracting authorities are faced with the dilemma of whether they are obliged to follow the provisions of ZJN-3, which apply to awarding contracts for (general) services. The answer to this quandary and the applicability of ZJN-3 in these cases depends on the type of legal services as well as on the estimated value of the procurement.

The circumstances of each individual case will therefore determine:

1. whether ZJN-3 will even apply in awarding the contract for legal services,
2. whether the contract will be awarded through a simplified procedure, or whether
3. the contracting authority will only be obliged to follow the general principles of ZJN-3.

Special rules apply for awarding contracts for legal services and contracting authorities must take several aspects into account when selecting the correct procedure. The first aspect addresses the contents: the nature of the legal services determines whether or not ZJN-3 even applies (regardless of the estimated value of the procurement). Some legal services, such as representation in judicial, administrative, and other proceedings are exceptions for which ZJN-3 does not apply at all.

If the contracting authority determines that the legal services are the type where the applicability of ZJN-3 cannot be excluded, the estimated value of the procurement must be considered. Higher thresholds apply for legal services. In the case of procurements of legal services that do not reach the thresholds (which is the most likely the case in practice, as the thresholds have been set relatively high: EUR 750,000 in the general field and EUR 1,000,000 in the infrastructure field), the contracting authority is obliged to follow (only) the basic principles of public procurement and the principle of transparency.

1. https://www.pravnapraksa.si/Lite/Besedilo.aspx?SOPI=L010Y2019V7P6-8N1&Src=iH5BeYl5T3wZEgibfx4ZrxJBjER99AghWpNWP1HYE2hlybRvrJzreg==