We have been following Simon Dolan's Judicial Review against the Government closely - you can read about that here:
Simon spoke candidly at the end of September about the current situation and where we are now at:
After delays to the Judicial Review appeal, caused by Government lawyers taking their holidays, we have a further update from Simon Dolan's Crowdjustice campaign team about Simon moving forward with an injunction. This was reported on their website on 1 October 2020 and follows the renewal of the Coronavirus Act on 30th September 2020 for a further 6 months. Here's what the team had to say:
We have joined forces with leading wedding venue operator Cripps Barn Group Ltd to seek an injunction which would immediately halt the Government’s latest lockdown laws.
We are serving legal papers on the Government today, seeking urgent relief from the Court to quash the new restrictions laid down by Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and to declare them illegal. We are also seeking permission to take the measures to judicial review.
We say the contradictory and confusing laws are destroying the hospitality industry and that the measures are disproportionate to the risk to public health from COVID-19.
We are arguing that the Government misused legislation to bring in the new regulations without proper scrutiny by parliament. The Government introduced the new measures through the Public Health (Control of Infectious Disease) Act 1984 by certifying the legislation as ‘urgent’. That loophole allows Ministers to make the laws effective immediately without prior approval in parliament.
If the injunction is granted, and a public official attempts to impose the lockdown laws, they could be in contempt of court which is ultimately punishable by imprisonment.
Family-run wedding and events firm Cripps is a member of the £130 billion hospitality industry and – like many others - has seen their business devastated by the Government’s restrictions. The business has been blitzed by the new rule limiting weddings to 15 people – while pubs and restaurants can hold unlimited numbers within individual groups.
Mark Henriques, Managing Director of Cripps & Co, said:
“The latest round of lockdown restrictions, introduced through the back door without any Parliamentary scrutiny, are absurd and contradictory. They are devastating the hospitality industry and all its support businesses. We are asking the courts to halt the new restrictions at least until they have been properly debated.
“It is plainly ridiculous that spacious wedding venues, including some that seat 1,500 people, have to restrict themselves to 15 people. It’s all based on the Government view that weddings are ‘super-spreader’ events. By next March the wedding dreams of around 500,000 brides and grooms will have been shattered. The Government’s thoughtless assumption is that wedding guests will be drunkenly hugging and kissing everyone in the room as though Covid didn’t exist.
“In the real world, the Government must see that most people have adapted their behaviour and, particularly around the vulnerable, are acting with great restraint. A wedding meal for 100 people, with guests spaced as in restaurants, with no mingling or dancing, with modest consumption of alcohol, poses a very small risk indeed. Wedding events can be closely supervised by venue staff and family members who would be determined to keep things safe. Weddings pose no more risk than many other permitted activities.
“We ask the Government to drop this obsession with weddings and wake up to the fact they are needlessly ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of wedding couples, business owners, staff and suppliers.”
We are applying to the Court for an urgent hearing and an injunction to stop further damage being caused by the new laws. We sent the Government’s lawyers a Letter Before Action at the weekend to signal their intentions. We are issuing proceedings today and asking for a hearing to be held next week.
We are bringing this case in addition to the existing high profile legal challenge to the Government, which continues and the Appeal will be heard on 29th Oct.
This additional, fresh legal challenge comes after backbench MPs, who were demanding more say over COVID restrictions, rolled over and accepted a future vote ‘wherever possible’ on lockdown measures.
Simon Dolan said:
“With 16 million people now under draconian local restrictions, and everyone facing harsh fines for contravening rules they can’t even understand, the tide is turning. More and more people believe, like us, that the Government cannot be allowed to do what it likes with no thought to the consequences of its actions.
“The new legislation has been sneaked in using a legal loophole without scrutiny from parliament. That is why the country is in a total mess and a state of confusion. Businesses are being driven into the ground and lives are being ruined. The Prime Minister himself had to apologise for getting confused by his own laws and his own father did not know to wear a mask.
“I have long argued that all the lockdown measures have been brought in illegally and are completely disproportionate to the risk from COVID-19. We have evidence which backs this up and challenges the spurious scenario presented made by Professor Whitty when he claimed that there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by next month.
“Backbench MPs, led by Sir Graham Brady, made some noise about being denied a voice. But they rolled over like poodles as soon as their tummies were tickled with the promise they will be given a vote ‘when possible.’
“The new measures threaten to destroy the hospitality industry. We know there are dismayed, worried and angry people in the hospitality industry and we need more people from the sector to come forward and support this legal case. They can make their voices heard. Anyone who wants to support it financially can donate to the CrowdJustice appeal. The lockdown measures are illegal, they do not work and they must be scrapped.”