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Lockdown legal challenge reaches next stage of litigation

By Jemma Slingo  >>  

(28 August 2020)

A legal challenge to the government’s lockdown has raised over £250,000 in a crowdfunding campaign, after claimants secured permission to proceed to the next stage of litigation.

Simon Dolan, a Monaco-based owner of UK businesses, is challenging England’s Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020, which imposed restrictions on people and businesses in response to the pandemic.

Dolan was initially refused permission for judicial review by the Honourable Mr Justice Lewis, who said the regulations imposed by government sought to achieve a legitimate aim, namely to reduce the incidence and spread of the virus.

However, reviewing the decision, the Rt Honourable Lord Justice Hickinbottom said he was persuaded that the grounds should be considered by the full court in open court, and the claimants ‘given an opportunity to make good their case, at least on arguability’.

In his order, Hickinbottom LJ said the High Court’s judgment was ‘impressive and cogent’ and ‘may well be found to have been correct’. However, he said the claim raises important questions such as ‘potentially fundamental issues concerning the proper spheres for democratically accountable ministers of the government and judges’.

He ordered that application for permission to appeal be adjourned into open court on a rolled up basis. The case is expected to be held at the Court of Appeal in the week of 28 September and the hearing will decide whether the case should progress to a full appeal.

Dolan’s crowdfunding webpage has raised £251,049 thus far.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)