Legal challenge over lawfulness of Government lockdown launched by entrepreneur

05 / 05 / 2020

LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT: COVID-19 LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE

View the Letter to the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP Secretary of State for Health & Social Care here:


Press Release

London – May 1, 2020 – A leading UK businessman has launched a legal bid to challenge the lawfulness of the Government’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown – whilst calling on Boris to relax restrictions.

Simon Dolan is seeking a Judicial Review over the Government’s emergency measures which continue to impose severe restrictions on personal liberty and freeze the UK economy.

The legal challenge comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will unveil an exit strategy next week but offered no specifics and signalled there will be no significant change to lockdown measures.

As part of Mr Dolan’s legal process, lawyers have delivered a ‘Letter Before Action’ on his behalf to the Government, giving it until Thursday May 7 to respond.

Lawyers seek to challenge the Government on three main points:

  • Whether lockdown is unlawful because the Government implemented regulations under the Public Health Act 1984 instead of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 or the Coronavirus Act 2020.
  • The legality of the continuation of lockdown regulation, and whether the tests are too narrow, failing to take account of the economic and social impacts of lockdown.
  • If the restrictions brought in by the Government contravene the European Convention of Human Rights, which cover the right to liberty, family life, education and property.

Mr Dolan is also calling on the government to introduce three key changes which will restore some freedoms and allow the economy to get moving:

  • Allow gatherings of up to 100 people
  • Reopen schools
  • Review the lockdown restrictions every two weeks

The legal action requires the UK Government to justify the decision-making process which led to the UK’s extensive lockdown. It will specifically ask about the scientific evidence and data used by ministers and civil servants to underpin the government’s policy decisions. It will also ask for clarity over who sits on the SAGE committee and for publication of the minutes from SAGE meetings.

Simon Dolan, who owns ten UK businesses and employs 600 people, said: “Every day that the lockdown continues it is paralysing the country, wrecking the economy and causing long term damage.

“Boris Johnson has hinted at an exit strategy after declaring we are past the peak. But he has offered no timeframe and given himself a get out with the five tests. He seems determined to maintain the lockdown which was brought in on March 23. There is still no clarity on how he will get things moving again.

“He has an opportunity now to put things right by allowing gatherings of up to one hundred people, re-opening schools and reviewing the measures every two weeks.”

Mr Dolan continued: “We want the government to explain and justify the decisions behind lockdown.

“We are asking if the process was legal, who took the decision and what data and information were used. We want to be assured that the measures are proportionate and lawful.

“Small businesses continue to be badly affected. Businesses have been forced to shut, furlough staff and make cuts just in an attempt to survive.

“Lockdown is also taking a huge toll on mental health and family life. Calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline are up 49 percent. Referrals for cancer tests have fallen by 76 per cent. It is estimated that 18,000 more people with cancer could die because of the disruption.

“We are depriving children of a proper education and instead, teaching them to hide away from uncertainty rather than to confront it.

“It is now universally accepted that the lockdown will cause enormous long-term damage to both the economy and the general health of the population. No-one will be untouched by its effects, but the poorest in society will be by far the most affected

“The British public is playing its full part in the national effort by making sacrifices every single day. We feel it only right to challenge the Government on the legality of their actions, and to seek greater transparency on decisions being made and taking on the huge and unprecedented costs via increased taxation for everyone for generations to come.”

Mr Dolan added: “Every life lost is a tragedy. But we have seen other nations deal with the pandemic effectively without such draconian measures. Sweden chose to trust its citizens with sustainable tactics– and Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were also less draconian.

“Our leaders are making decisions that will affect this country for a generation. We want to hold those in power to account on behalf of everyone. It is vital that the frightening restrictions to our liberties are carefully thought through.”

Mr Dolan is represented by Michael Gardner of law firm Wedlake Bell LLP and barrister Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers. His company Jota Aviation has been supporting the government by transporting vital PPE equipment and also repatriating British people stranded abroad for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The campaign has backing from Erica Charles, Managing Director of Spirit Energy, a Berkshire based renewable energy company.

Anyone who is concerned the Govt has taken away personal freedoms can support the campaign via Crowd Justice using this link: crowdjustice.com/case/lockdownlegalchallenge

ENDS

For further information and interview requests, please contact:

Neil McLeod, The PHA Group – neilm@thephagroup.com

Sean Hamilton, The PHA Group – seanh@thephagroup.com

Alex Felton, The PHA Group – alexf@thephagroup.comSeparator