Forget Crowdsurfing, say Hello to CrowdSuing: Crowdjustice campaign for judicial review of lockdown reaches High Court

July 9, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

A legal challenge against the government-led lockdown, headed by businessman Simon Dolan, came before the High Court on 2nd July.

What does this mean?

Initiated by Simon Dolan who asserts that “the freedoms of everyone in the UK have been trampled over”, almost 5,500 people have donated over £182,000 towards the crowdjustice campaign aiming to bring  the UK government under judicial review. The legal challenge was raised at the start of May after Boris Johnson announced that an exit strategy following the UK-wide lockdown had been produced, but no specific details were divulged. In addition, the claims have been brought against Health Secretary, Matt Hancock and Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson. There are 3 grounds for the judicial review of the government: measures being unlawful, the lack of consideration of social and economic impacts and the obstruction of numerous European Convention rights. The trial has been set to take place via video call, as with other civil hearings (see our article on that here), on 2nd July which also marks the 101st day the UK has spent in lockdown.

What's the big picture effect?

Dolan will be represented by Michael Gardner of Wedlake Bell, Philip Havers QC of One Crown Office Row and Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers. Along with other grounds for review, Havers QC argues that the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 are unlawful and ultra vires. 

Dolan himself is a business owner of around 10 businesses which employs 600 people and, therefore is in opposition to the lockdown due to the harsh economic effects it has had on the UK (see our article on that here). In addition , he has outlined 3 fundamental changes that he wishes the government to implement to allow for more freedom and economic growth: allow gatherings of up to 100 people, reopen schools and lockdown reviews every 2 weeks. The government faced backlash when deciding to close schools, but also as they stated, within the government’s summary of defence, that this was merely a request.

The movement against nation-wide lockdowns has also arisen in the US, with protests in Missouri escalating as protestors entered the state capitol carrying guns. Whilst some countries are still protesting lockdown measures set in place, other nations such as Sweden, Japan and South Korea have been able to overcome the pandemic and retain a certain level of economic activity. 

The popularity of this movement highlights the general negative feelings towards lockdown and the harsh economic effects it has caused, especially as many feel that the government did not act fast enough initially. With smaller lockdowns being utilised in areas with a spike in COVID-19 cases, it is likely that there will be growing frustration towards the government. Meanwhile, Simon Dolan continues to urge towns and cities to act as freely as they wish by stating, “you do have a choice – make it”. 

In the meantime, keep your eye out for the judgement!

Report written by Sophie Hardava

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