The Public Procurement Code: A Great Tool

Author:Mr Vincent Brenot, Emmanuelle Mignon and Hélène Billery
Profession:August Debouzy

2018 ends with the publication of the French Public Procurement Code.

Ordinance No.2018-1074 regarding the legislative part of the Public Procurement Code and Decree No.2018-1075 regarding the regulatory part of the Public Procurement Code were published in the Journal Officiel on December 5, 2018.

The Public Procurement Code will on be applicable as of April 1st, 2019, time to allow the "actors" (new terminology used by the table of contents of the code) of public procurement (buyers and economic operators) to become familiar with the new architecture of the applicable rules.

The thirty or so scattered texts that have, hitherto, governed French public procurements (texts relating to public procurement, concessions, payment periods, supervision of public works, electronic invoicing, arbitration, subcontracting, etc.) have been replaced by a single text of 1,747 articles.

A didactic architecture

The code is intended to be an easy tool to use on a daily basis by public procurement actors. It includes a preliminary title and three parts.

The preliminary title, composed of articles L.1 to L. 6, contains the main principles common to all public procurement contracts, which are in a way part of its identity.

The very first article (Article L.1) recalls the principle of free choice for contracting authorities, how they want to meet their needs (use of their own resources or through to public procurement).

Article L. 2 defines public procurement contracts by highlighting the four fundamental criteria: the existence of a contract, concluded for a consideration, by a contracting authority, to meet its needs.

Article L. 3 reorganizes the former articles 1 of Ordinance No. 2015-899 of July 23, 2015 on public procurement and Ordinance No. 2016-65 of January 29, 2016 on concession contracts about the fundamental principles of public procurement: the wording that prevailed until now (principles of free access to public procurement, equal treatment of candidates and transparency of procedures) is replaced by a wording that puts the principle of equality, which is the main objective, before the other two principles that are the modalities: "Contracting authorities shall respect the principle of equal treatment of candidates for the award of a public procurement contract. They shall implement the principles of free access and transparent procedures, under the conditions defined by this Code. These principles ensure the effectiveness of public procurement and...

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