27.02.2015 | KPMG Law Insights

Public procurement law: Correction of incorrect tenders possible at any time

Dear Readers,

February is always a short month. Our newsletter adapts to this – at least in terms of the number of articles – for once. The reason is simple, but hopefully will convince you anyway: Not much happened in the month of February. The EU Commission has been reticent with news in the area of education and research, and there is nothing spectacular to report from the “Union framework front” either. But we still have a bit of “EU” for you: As part of the HORIZON 2020 funding program, there is further funding for top researchers who want to bring their innovations to market with the help of a financial injection from the EU.

We also do not want to withhold from you the fact that there has been a critical look at universities by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International. There are fears that the independence of universities will be jeopardized due to their – more or less close – relationships with business. So far so good, criticism can be made fruitful. But if e.g. contract research as a whole is placed under general suspicion because of the financial involvement of commercial enterprises, this is decidedly going too far. The German Rectors’ Conference thinks so, and so do we.

We wish you interesting reading!

Sincerely yours

Public Sector Team of KPMG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Mathias Oberndörfer Dr. Anke Empting

Lawyer Attorney

Public procurement law: Incorrect tenders may be corrected at any stage of the procedure

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has given public contracting authorities a treat in its decision of January 12, 2015: A public contracting authority that discovers a significant error in the award documents before the contract is awarded may still correct it even if the tender has already taken place.

The fact that there is a fundamental right of the contracting authority to make corrections of significant errors in the award documents before awarding the contract is nothing new. Now, however, the OLG Düsseldorf has ruled that even a submission that has already taken place does not preclude such an error correction. This is because the contracting authority cannot, in principle, be obliged to award a contract on the basis of a call for tenders which it has identified as being defective. The decision as to how and to what extent the contracting authority rectifies an identified tendering error is subject to its freedom of design.

According to the court, first of all, there is a possibility for the contracting authority to postpone the entire procedure.

However, according to the OLG Düsseldorf, it is also conceivable that the contracting authority limits itself to individual sub-items in connection with the deferral if these sub-items do not influence the price structure of the overall offer in a relevant manner. If the order of bidders changes in a second bidding round, this must be accepted by the companies participating in the competition. This applies all the more so in the case of pure price competition, where even a minor deviation in the bid prices can be decisive for the award decision.

Here the minds of the jurisprudence divide

The Dresden Higher Regional Court sets clear limits as far as the relegation of the proceedings to partial positions and the resulting change of price structures is concerned. The limits consist of a so-called “de minimis threshold”. According to the Dresden Higher Regional Court in its ruling of July 23, 2013, if the price items to be corrected account for approx. 15% of the bid totals, it is necessary to obtain new bids in order to counteract distortions of competition.

However, the OLG Düsseldorf does not fully share this view: fair competition can no longer be guaranteed if the items affected by the change co-determine the price structure of the offers in other respects and affect the price structure of the offer in a relevant manner. In this respect, both courts go one way. The fork in the road here lies in the fact that the OLG Düsseldorf does not want to tie such an influence to a “threshold value” of approx. 15% of the bid amounts. It sees ambiguities arising already from the question on which basis such a “de minimis threshold” should be determined. For example, the average of the bids submitted could be used, or the best bid or the contract value estimated in advance by the contracting authority, which is generally not made public, could be used as a basis.

However, the OLG Düsseldorf also takes a critical view of the de minimis threshold set by the OLG Dresden because it does not see any substantive arguments that would make it seem plausible that individual prices of a bid have an influence on the other price components of the bid on the basis of their percentage share in the total contract value.

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court refrained from referring the matter to the Federal Court of Justice. Such a referral is intended by law whenever a Higher Regional Court wishes to deviate from the legal opinion of another Higher Regional Court. In this case, submission is therefore not necessary, since the question in dispute between the OLG in connection with the “de minimis threshold” is not relevant to the decision in the dispute.

Explore #more

01.12.2023 | PR publications

WiWo: Best of Legal Awards – Philipp Glock Leader of the Year

On Thursday evening, WirtschaftsWoche honored outstanding projects and minds from consulting firms and law firms in Düsseldorf and celebrated the second Best of Professional Night…

29.11.2023 | KPMG Law Insights

Energy transition also opens up business opportunities

The energy industry’s complex, capital-intensive transformation process offers investors and banks a great deal of potential By Lars Christian Mahler and Marc Goldberg for Börsen-Zeitung,…

29.11.2023 | KPMG Law Insights

Guest article in ZURe – AI and the legal department of tomorrow

The current issue of ZURe (p. 48 ff.) contains a guest article by KPMG Partner Sina Steidel-Küster (Regional Director Southwest, Head of Stuttgart office) and…

29.11.2023 | KPMG Law Insights, KPMG Law Insights

Key Facts about the new draft of the “Data Act

On February 23, 2022, the EU Commission presented the new draft of the so-called Data Act, the “Regulation on harmonized rules for fair access to…

21.11.2023 |

Guest article in ZURe on the implementation of CSRD reporting in SMEs

The current issue of ZURe (p. 34 ff.) contains a guest article by Lena Plato (Director Legal & Compliance, FLABEG Automotive Group GmbH), KPMG Law…

20.11.2023 | Press releases

Statement by KPMG Law experts in Handelsblatt on the topic of sustainability cooperation in antitrust law

In the Handelsblatt, KPMG Law expert Jonas Brueckner is quoted in detail on the subject of cooperation in terms of sustainability. Until this summer, there…

15.11.2023 |

Legal 500 – Country Comparative Guide Germany

Gerrit Rixen and Jonas Brueckner provide an overview of the relevant legal regulations in the area of Competition & Litigation in a practical guide on…

14.11.2023 | Press releases

Tax and Law at a glance – New issue of the digital magazine “Talk

“Talk” stands for Tax and Law Compass, because that’s what the digital magazine wants to be: a navigation aid to the legal and tax aspects…

13.11.2023 |

Statement from KPMG Law experts in Brand eins magazine on the use of AI

The business magazine brand eins asked eight experts about the use of AI in the legal sector. “Many business people cannot even begin to estimate…

10.11.2023 | Deal Notifications

KPMG Law and KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft advise Ziemann Holvrieka on the acquisition of Künzel Maschinenbau

KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH (KPMG Law) and KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (KPMG) advised Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH from Ludwigsburg on the acquisition of the majority of shares…


Mathias Oberndörfer

Mitglied des Vorstands Service Tax - KPMG AG Wirt­schafts­prüfungs­gesell­schaft

Theodor-Heuss-Straße 5
70174 Stuttgart

tel: +49 711 781923410

© 2023 KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, associated with KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, a public limited company under German law and a member of the global KPMG organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a Private English Company Limited by Guarantee. All rights reserved. For more details on the structure of KPMG’s global organisation, please visit

 KPMG International does not provide services to clients. No member firm is authorised to bind or contract KPMG International or any other member firm to any third party, just as KPMG International is not authorised to bind or contract any other member firm.