Contracts
GAO
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Agency
Automatic Stay? Yes
For pre-award protests, the agency must suspend award of the contract once it receives notice from GAO that a protest has been filed. FAR 33.104(b).

For post-award protests, the agency must suspend performance so long as it receives notice of the protest from GAO within 10 days after contract award or within 5 days after the debriefing date offered to the protester for requested and required debriefings under FAR 15.505 or 15.506, whichever is later. FAR 33.104(c). (Note: Debriefings are not “required” for procurements under FAR Part 13 (FAR
13.106-3(d)), or Part 14 (except 14.5 (two step sealed bidding) FAR 14.503-1(g).)

 
GAO is required to notify the agency within 1 day of receipt of the protest. 4 C.F.R. § 21.3(a). If filing close to the statutory stay deadline, the protester should bring this to GAO's attention and ask GAO to provide expedited notice to the agency.
Automatic Stay? No
In order to obtain a stay, the protester must file a motion for preliminary injunction, demonstrating that: (1) it is likely to succeed on the merits of its protest; (2) it will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction; (3) granting the injunction will serve the public interest; and (4) the harm the protester will suffer absent the injunction outweighs the harm to the Government and third parties caused by an injunction.
Automatic Stay? Yes
For pre-award protests, the agency must suspend award of the contract until it has resolved the protest. FAR 33.103(f)(1).

For post-award protests, the agency must suspend performance so long as it receives the protest within 10 days after contract award or within 5 days after the debriefing date offered to the protester under a timely (i.e., submitted within 3 days of award) debriefing request in accordance with FAR 15.505 or 15.506, whichever is later. FAR 33.103(f)(3). (Note: Debriefings are not “required” for procurements under FAR Part 13 (FAR 13.106-3(d)), or Part 14 (except 14.5 (two step sealed bidding)

 
Pursuing an agency protest does not extend the time for obtaining a stay at GAO. FAR 33.103(f)(4).
Jurisdictional Timelines:
A pre-award protest based on alleged impropriet-ies in the RFP that are apparent prior to receipt of proposals must be filed prior to the time set for receipt of proposals. Improprieties subsequently incorporated into the solicitation must be protested by the next closing time for receipt of proposals following incorporation. 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(1).
An offeror excluded from the competitive range before award must request a debriefing in writing within 3 days after receipt of notice of exclusion to obtain a “required” debriefing. FAR 15.505(a)(1). The offeror then must file its protest not later than 10 days after the date on which the debriefing is held. 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(2).
For competitions where a debriefing is requested and required, post-award protests must be filed not later than 10 days after the debriefing is held, but not before the offered debriefing date. 4 C.F.R.
For all other protests not covered above, the protester must file its protest within 10 days after the basis of protest is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier. 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(2).
Jurisdictional Timelines:
There are no strict timelines for filing a protest, and the GAO timeliness rules do not apply in the COFC. However, a protester waives a challenge to a patent error in the RFP if it has not raised the issue with the government prior to the time set for receipt of proposals (the “patent ambiguity” rule). Blue & Gold Fleet, L.P. v. United States, 492 F.3d 1308, 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2007).
A lengthy delay in filing may affect the protester’s ability to obtain a preliminary injunction and may also result in the court barring the protest under the doctrine of laches. Reilly v. United States, 104 Fed.
Cl. 68, 78 (2012).
Jurisdictional Timelines:
A pre-award protest based on alleged apparent improprieties in the RFP must be filed before bid opening or the closing date for receipt of proposals. FAR 33.103(e).
All other protests must be filed no later than 10 days after the basis of protest is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier. FAR 33.103(e).
Subject Matter Jurisdiction Limits:
Only an “interested party” may protest improprieties in an RFP or award or termination of a federal contract. 4 C.F.R. § 21.1(a). An “interested party” is an actual or prospective offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or the failure to award a contract. 4 C.F.R § 21.0(a)(1).
 
Note: An alleged Procurement Integrity Act violation must be brought to the Agency’s attention within 14 days of discovery, or it cannot be raised in a GAO protest. FAR 33.102(f); 41 U.S.C. § 2106.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction Limits:
Only an “interested party” may protest before the COFC. 28 U.S.C. § 1491(b)(1). The COFC defines “interested party” as GAO does, using the definition in the Competition in Contracting Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3551(2)(A): “An “interested party” is an actual or prospective offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or the failure to award a contract. American Fed’n of Gov’t Emp, AFL-CIO v. United States, 258 F.3d 1294, 1299
(Fed. Cir. 2001). The standard of review is that set forth in the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction Limits:
Only an interested party may file an agency-level protest. FAR 33.103 (d)(2)(vii).
Process for Appealing Unsuccessful Decision:
A Request for Reconsideration may be filed at GAO not later than 10 days after the basis for reconsideration is known or should have been known, whichever is earlier. 4 C.F.R. § 21.14.
A protester may “appeal” a GAO decision to the Court of Federal Claims by filing suit alleging that the agency’s procurement was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). 28 U.S.C. § 1491. There is no strict timeline for filing such an “appeal.”
A contractor may also file suit in the Court of Federal Claims alleging that an Agency’s proposed or actual corrective action, even if recommended or approved by GAO, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law.
Process for Appealing Unsuccessful Decision:
A protester may appeal a COFC decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the Federal Circuit within 60 days after the date of entry of judgment. 28 U.S.C. §§1295(a)(3); 2107(b); 2522; COFC Rule 58.1; FRAP
Rule 3; CAFC Rules 3 and 4 (Practice Notes).
The Federal Circuit reviews the COFC’s determination on the legal issues without deference, applying the same “arbitrary and capricious” standard under the APA as that applied by the COFC, i.e., whether the agency’s procurement decision was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A).
Process for Appealing Unsuccessful Decision:
A protester may seek independent agency review of the contracting officer’s decision on the protest at a level above the contracting officer in accordance with agency procedures. Such review does not extend GAO’s timeliness requirements. FAR 33.103(d)(4).
A subsequent protest may be filed at GAO so long as it is filed within 10 days of actual or constructive knowledge of initial adverse agency action. FAR 33.103(d)(4) (citing 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(3)).
A subsequent protest may be filed at the Court of Federal Claims by filing suit alleging that the agency’s procurement was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law” in violation of the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). There is no strict timeline for filing such an “appeal.”
 
Most agencies supplement FAR 33.103 with their own regulations.

The information contained in this chart is not intended to serve as legal advice related to any individual situation. This material is made available for informational purposes only and is current as of April 2017.  

PROCUREMENT TYPE
Chart 1 (Contracts)
Chart 2 (IDIQ Task Orders)
Chart 3 (GSA FSS Task Orders)
 
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