Update from the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has today handed down its judgment on Simon Dolan’s legal challenge to lockdown after hearing the case over four weeks ago on October 29 and 30.

The judges ruled that the Government should not face a Judicial Review into the first lockdown measures.

However, Simon will now seek permission to take this case to the Supreme Court.

Here is a statement from Simon about the judgement and the case.

Simon Dolan said: “The Lord Chief Justice, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Singh have decided that the Government should not face a full judicial review of its actions in imposing the lockdown measures on us all between March 26 and July 2.

“We did score one important victory. The three judges allowed an important ground of the appeal which concerned the legal powers of Ministers to make the lockdown regulations using the Public Health (Control of Infectious Disease) Act 1984. We argued that they had acted ‘ultra vires’ (beyond their powers) by using this legislation and that as a result, the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government were illegal.

“The Court of Appeal accepted that it was in the public interest for the appeal to be allowed on this important legal point. In doing so, they overturned Mr Justice Lewis's ruling back in July that this point was unarguable.

“Unusually, having allowed the appeal on the ultra vires point, the Court decided to make a final, substantive ruling on the substance of the issue itself – rather than send it back to the High Court.

“Unfortunately, however, having considered it, the Court of Appeal held against us. It has ruled that on the wording of the 1984 statute, the Government does have the power to impose measures against the whole population as it has been doing.

“We still disagree strongly and the fight will go on. We can and will seek permission to appeal the ultra vires point to the Supreme Court.

“Many eminent lawyers, including Lord Sumption, himself a former Supreme Court judge, have questioned whether the 1984 Act really does give the Government the power to the lockdown regulations it has been imposing since March 26. We would hope that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the appeal concerning this hugely important point of law.

“We had also challenged the lockdown on various other grounds. We argued that it was incompatible with our human rights. Because the court refused us permission to appeal on those other grounds, we cannot take those parts of the challenge any further in this case. We will not be able to challenge the proportionality of the earlier lockdown measures such as the right to gather for protests nor the effect on private and family lives.

“However, the Court of Appeal’s refusal of permission on human rights grounds related to the factual circumstances in which the first lockdown was imposed from March. It was not asked to judge on later restrictions which put into place from September. We are still pursuing a separate legal case to challenge the lawfulness of those later regulations in a separate judicial review.

“We find some other aspects of the Appeal Court judgement surprising. The lockdown regulations clearly imposed a blanket prohibition of all forms of gatherings for protest purposes – which is enshrined in Article 11’s right to freedom of assembly. Yet the Court suggested the ‘reasonable excuse’ proviso in the regulations gave people an opportunity to invoke Article 11 in order to challenge any prosecution for breach of the regulations.

“We seriously question whether anyone would feel co