Monday, 1 June 2020

Amended "lockdown" Regulations ~ in force 1 June 2020

'Lockdown' - Bournemouth 31 May
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Regulations) 2020 - (the "lockdown" Regulations) - have been amended for the third time. The latest amendment is in force from 1 June 2020.

The amended Regulations reflect the government's view that it is safe to ease the restrictions further. This view is not universally held - for example, see BBC News 30 May and Financial Times 30 May 2020. Concern also exists because of the numbers of people who went to beaches and beauty spots - (see picture of Bournemouth beach).

The lockdown Regulations are different across the four nations of the UK. Links to the legislation are set out at the end of this post.

Under the amended English Regulations, the "emergency period" is still in force. There is an entirely  new Regulation 6 (Restrictions on Movement) and Regulation 7 (Restrictions on Gatherings). Schedule 2 (Businesses subject to Restrictions or Closure) is amended.

Throughout the pandemic the government has issued guidance on COVID-19. The guidance is updated as the government considers necessary and it is advisable to check for the updates.

NHS Information and advice about coronavirus is available at NHS.UK/Coronavirus

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Legal challenge to the "lockdown" regulations

Businessman Mr Simon Dolan has issued proceedings for a judicial review of the "lockdown" regulations in England. Separate regulations apply to Wales, Scotland and to Northern Ireland - (previous post for links).

Details of the review may be seen at Crowdjustice

The claimant argues that - the Regulations are "... of the most far reaching kind and impact directly on every person resident in England.  They impose extraordinary restrictions that are subject to minimal Parliamentary scrutiny and it is of the highest public interest that the Court is able to determine whether they were imposed lawfully ..."

The government argues that the Regulations

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

A look at the Cummings story - 2

Barnard Castle
Post updated 28 May 2020

This previous post looked at the Dominic Cummings situation on the basis of what was in the public domain on the morning of 25 May.  The post looked at the law and the guidance as they stood in late March and early April when Mr Cummings, together with his wife and son, travelled from their London home to his father's farm in County Durham.

The question in law was whether, at the time he left the London home, Mr Cummings had a reasonable excuse to do so.

The guidance required people to stay at home if anyone in the household had symptoms of coronavirus but, if living with children, the guidance added that they had to do their best to follow the guidance.

Statement 25 May:

On the afternoon of 25 May, at the request of the Prime Minister, Mr Cummings

Monday, 25 May 2020

A look at the Cummings story - 1

Dominic Cummings is described by Wikipedia as a British political strategist who was appointed a senior adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2019.

From 2007 to 2014, he was a Special Adviser to Michael Gove MP including the time that Gove served as Secretary of State for Education.

From 2015 to 2016, Cummings was Director of

Coronavirus Log Part 3 - (from 25 May)

This post is a continuation of the Coronavirus Log.  See Coronavirus Log Part 1 - (December 2019 to 28 April 2020) and Part 2 (29 April 2020 to 24 May 2020).

No 10 Downing Street data for 24 May showed 36,793 deaths from coronavirus confiemd with a positive test. The data slide notes - "Weekly registered deaths from the Office for National Statistics include cases where COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but was not confirmed with a test. On 8th May, ONS reported 41,020 cumulative registered deaths from COVID-19. This was 9,779 more than the DHSC figure for the same date."

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 was not used. Why?

Some States have provisions in their national law for declaring emergencies. See, for example, the Declaration by the President Trump of the USA of 13 March 2020.  Such declarations of emergency can trigger special powers such as powers to maintain public order and safety, to requisition and take possession of property, limit traffic and transport, place restrictions on financial transactions etc. The exact impact of such declarations of emergency varies from nation to nation.  The UK relies on existing legal powers (mostly in legislation) but will, if necessary, enact specific legislation to cope with a serious event. The UK's Civil Contingencies Act 2004 is a major piece of legislation designed for emergency events but has not been used in the coronavirus pandemic. 

Civil Contingencies Act:

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 Part 2 - (CCA) - confers

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Lord Sumption ~ the lockdown should be "entirely voluntary"

The NHS belongs to the people. It is there to improve our health and wellbeing, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives - NHS Constitution for England

The Sunday Times 17 May 2020 (£) published an article by Lord Sumption - a former Justice of the UK Supreme Court with the heading "Set us free from lockdown, ministers, and stop covering your backs."  He also gave a TV Interview - HERE - in which he advocated that the lockdown should become entirely voluntary. "It is up to us, not the State, to decide what risks we are going to take with our own bodies."

Lord Sumption's view:

Sumption states that - "The lockdown was originally

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Coronavirus: concern as restrictions partially eased in England

"Lockdown" changes:

Most European nations are relaxing coronavirus restrictions - e.g. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal.  The exact situation varies from country to country and the success at containing the virus has varied immensely across Europe and beyond - e.g. Australia, New Zealand.

In the UK, the number of deaths from coronavirus continues to be high.  The No 10 Downing Street briefing for Friday 15 May reported total deaths at 33,998 confirmed with a positive test. The figures for Saturday 9 May stood at 31,241 - a rise of 626 in 24 hours.
Whatever the position in other

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Further amendments to the "Lockdown" Regulations for England

NOTE: From 1 June 2020 further amendments have been made. This post is retained for historical purposes.

12th May - The The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 - SI 2020/350- have been amended for the second time.

The first amendment - (discussed in this previous post) - was The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - SI 2020/447 - and came into force on 22 April 2020.

The second amendment is the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - SI 2020/500 - and came into force on 13 May 2020

The emergency procedure

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Coronavirus ~ international lessons?


The People's Republic of China (PRC) is a nation of some 1.4 billion people. Governed by a communist regime, it has enormous economic and military strength and is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. As noted by Chatham House (October 2019) the People’s Republic of China represents, for the UK, a mutually beneficial source of economic and trade potential in a post-Brexit world. London and Beijing already have a well-established relationship in areas such as finance, telecommunications and higher education. In January 2020, the British government controversially awarded Huawei a limited stake in the UK's 5G development but, in the light of coronavirus, the government has drawn up plans to reduce the Chinese company’s involvement to zero by 2023 - The Guardian 22 May.

Coronavirus - uncertainty regarding its origin:

In late 2019, coronavirus

Friday, 1 May 2020

Gordon Park (deceased) v R - The Lady in the Lake case

Coniston Water
The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) - Dame Victoria Sharp P, Sweeney and May JJ - has given a detailed and lengthy judgment in the Gordon Park (Lady in the Lake) case - Gordon Park (Deceased) v R [2020] EWCA Crim 589. The case was discussed in this previous post 27 October 2018.

Basic background:

As reported by The Guardian 1 May 2020, Carol Park, a teacher, went missing in Leece, near Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in July 1976, and Park claimed she had gone to live with another man. Amateur divers found her body in Coniston Water in 1997.

Gordon Park was arrested and charged with her murder, and spent two weeks in prison on remand, but the case against him was dropped in 1998 on the grounds there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Detectives later uncovered fresh forensic and geological evidence said to link him to the crime and he was found guilty at Manchester crown court in 2005. 

The court of appeal dismissed

Thursday, 30 April 2020

PPE ~ Chief Coroner's Guidance No.37

In this previous post (Friday 24 April) it was noted that the Coronavirus Act 2020 s. 30 enabled Coroners to hold inquests without a jury in cases where the Coroner has reason to suspect that the death was caused by COVID-19.

In practice, inquests will not be required for the majority of deaths arising from COVID-19. The situations in which a Coroner must be informed of a death are set out in The Notification of Deaths Regulations 2019 and Regulation 3(1)(a)(ix) requires a medical practitioner to notify the Coroner where the practitioner suspects that the death was due to an an injury or disease attributable to any employment held during the person’s lifetime.

It follows that

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Coronavirus Log Part 2 - (from 29 April)

This post is a continuation of the Coronavirus Log.  See Coronavirus Log Part 1 - (December 2019 to 28 April 2020).

29 April - Worldometers - Coronanvirus - UK - reported that UK deaths had reached 21,678 (not including care homes and in the community)

ONS information up to 17 April -  Up to 17 April, there were 19,112 deaths registered in England and Wales involving COVID-19 (11,405 men and 7,707 women). The majority of deaths involving COVID-19 have been among people aged 65 years and over (16,690 out of 19,112), with 41% (6,899) of these occurring in the over-85 age group.

High Consequence Infectious Diseases:

On 22 October 2018 the UK government published

Friday, 24 April 2020

The impact of coronavirus on courts and legal matters

Supreme Court:

In July 2019 it was announced by the Prime Minister's Office that Lord Reed would take up the position of President on 11 January 2020. Thereafter, Lord Justice Hamblen, Lord Justice Leggatt and Professor Andrew Burrows would join the Supreme Court as justices on 13 January, 21 April and 2 June 2020 respectively. The swearing in of Lord Justice Leggatt duly took place on 21 April 2020 but, because of coronavirus, the ceremony was held in the court's library.

Arrangements for the continuation of the court's business were announced on 30 March.

Judiciary and courts:

A library worth of guidance for

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Very important - Coronavirus "Lockdown" regulations amended from 11 am

UPDATE 13 May - additional Regulations came into force on 13 May. This post is retained on the blog as part of the history.

Amendment to Regulations:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 - (discussed in this previous post) - have been amended by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The amendments apply from 1100 hrs on 22 April and apply to England. The following is from the Explanatory Memorandum:

The instrument makes a number of changes to the Restrictions Regulations to clarify and better enable the public health measures in those Regulations to

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Foreign Affairs Committee ~ 21 April 2020

The provision of equipment to personnel involved in the treatment of coronavirus patients has become a key issue in the government's response to the pandemic. Equipment (e.g. ventilators) is required for the treatment of patients in Intensive Care Units. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed for medical staff and others involved in the care of patients.

The European Commission has published information about procurement of  Personal protective equipment – masks, gloves, goggles, face-shields, and overalls – as well as medical ventilators and testing kits

Parliament - Joint Human Rights Committee 20 April 2020

Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights met during the afternoon of Monday 20 April. The session took place "online" and the key witness was Mr Robert Buckland MP - Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

The session -lasting about 3 hours - may be viewed at or, for a limited period, at BBC iPlayer.

The impact of coronavirus on the prison population (BBC News) and also on  jury trial in the Crown Court were discussed (Law Society Gazette) as well as civil liberty issues

Friday, 17 April 2020

Policing during the Coronavirus pandemic

In common with many nations, the UK is currently enduring a "lockdown" imposed by law on businesses, the freedom of movement of individuals, and "gatherings"  in a public place of more than two people. The relevant law is in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 - (considered in this previous post).

On Thursday 16 April the government announced that the "lockdown" due to the coronavirus pandemic would continue for at least a further three weeks - The Guardian 16 April.  The announcement was made by Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab*

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Handling of coronavirus ~ "high hurdles" to legal actions

On 23 March, Scottish Legal News (SLN) published an item  with the headline - Legal action against UK government over handling of coronavirus pandemic faces 'high hurdles'

The same article was reported by Irish Legal News.

The article states - "The UK government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic should be investigated after the emergency has abated but any legal action brought against it will face “high hurdles”, lawyers have told Scottish Legal News.

Boris Johnson’s government is widely believed

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Coronavirus Log Part 1 (December 2019 to 28 April 2020).

December 2019:

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, China. A novel coronavirus was identified as the cause by Chinese authorities on 7 January 2020 and was temporarily named “2019-nCoV”.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

See WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

There are questions about