Tom Hickman KC and Joe Tomlinson: What role did judicial review play during the pandemic? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted May 13th, 2024 in constitutional law, coronavirus, judicial review, news by tracey

‘In one of the most celebrated passages in legal history, Lord Atkin stated in Liversidge v Anderson [1942] AC 206 that whether in war or in peace, the laws speak in the same voice and that the judges, “stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified in law.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was on a war footing, although the enemy was a virus rather than a foreign state. The country was subject to the most severe restrictions on personal liberty in modern times, with people being confined to their homes, often for lengthy periods; families, partners, and friends separated; and schools, workplaces and places of worship closed. It provides a unique opportunity to examine how the system of judicial review responds to a prolonged crisis. This “stress test” of the judicial review system is revealing, not least by exposing the fact that it was the system rather than the judges, that had greatest impact in terms of revising and improving rules and decisions taken by governments.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 13th May 2024