Coronavirus and the Proceduralisation of Rights – Oxford Human Rights Hub

‘The House of Lords Constitution Committee recently published its recommendations in relation to the government’s fast-tracked Coronavirus Bill 2020. The House of Lords debates have welcomed the government’s decision not to derogate from the ECHR (in contrast to several other contracting parties). However, in seeking to ensure ECHR-compliance of the proposed scheme, the Committee placed significant emphasis on the availability of judicial review and administrative oversight of the powers contained therein to ensure their legality and constitutional acceptability. In this piece I suggest that, whilst these suggestions are no doubt welcome, the Committee’s focus on procedure rather than on the substantive requirements of human rights is indicative of wider concerning trends in human rights discourse.’

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Oxford Human Rights Hub, 9th April 2020

Source: ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk

Is the Lockdown Lawful? An overview of the debate – UK Human Rights Blog

‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 were made by the Health Secretary on 26 March 2020. Understandably, given the speed with which the crisis was and still is developing, the Regulations were made using a statutory emergency procedure, meaning that they were not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny. They have yet to be challenged in the courts. In the meantime, a lively and important debate has developed about whether those regulations are lawful.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 20th April 2020

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Lessons to be Learned from the Marie Dinou Case – Pump Court Chambers

Posted April 21st, 2020 in chambers articles, coronavirus, emergency powers, enforcement, news, police by sally

‘Marie Dinou, the woman from York convicted of a non-existent coronavirus offence after being found “loitering between platforms” at Newcastle railway station was lucky to be charged with something newsworthy. Had hers been a mundane motoring charge it is highly unlikely that anyone would have spotted that her treatment by the police and the justice system was stupid, incompetent and unlawful.’

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Pump Court Chambers, 7th April 2020

Source: www.pumpcourtchambers.com

Coronavirus Act 2020 and the powers of the government to manage individuals infected with Covid-19: How will it affect those who fall ill? (UPDATE) – 3PB

‘The Coronavirus Act 2020 (“the Act”) came into force on 25th March 2020. Among other things, the Act confers powers on public health officers, constables, and immigration officers to enable them to manage potentially infectious persons during the Covid-19 crisis. Schedule 21 of the Act contains provisions that enable the relevant officials to exercise their powers in respect of individuals in England, Wales and Scotland. This article will only focus on Part 2 of Schedule 21, which pertains to the powers of the government in England.’

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3PB, 17th April 2020

Source: www.3pb.co.uk

Equality and discrimination in employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic – 3PB

Posted April 20th, 2020 in chambers articles, coronavirus, emergency powers, enforcement, equality, news by sally

‘Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (‘EqA’) defines the protected characteristics as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The current public health and economic emergency that society and business face has the potential to impact upon each protected characteristic. For example, there are reports of increased racist behaviour and commentary targeting Chinese and Italian citizens. There have also been publicised grievances around a requirement to wear protective equipment and the impact on religious dress. Such issues could be tested in the courts under the provisions of the EqA.’

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3PB, 7th April 2020

Source: www.3pb.co.uk

Coronavirus and Civil Liberties in the UK – Blackstone Chambers

‘On 26 March 2020 the four countries of the United Kingdom became subject to regulations setting out the most severe restrictions on liberty ever imposed. Those restrictions are vitally necessary for fighting the coronavirus. This article analyses the range of legal issues that the restrictions give rise to, investigating what further refinements and reinforcement are required to ensure they are placed on a more secure legal footing.’

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Blackstone Chambers, 6th April 2020

Source: coronavirus.blackstonechambers.com

University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust v MB [2020] EWHC 882 (QB): the unintended consequences of the stay of possession claims under Practice Direction 51Z – Falcon Chambers

‘Practice Direction 51Z was hastily brought into force on Friday 27 March 2020, after the Prime Minister’s televised instructions to the nation on the evening of Monday 23 March 2020 that everyone should stay at home in order to beat coronavirus. Practice Direction 51Z imposed a three-month stay on all Part 55 possession proceedings, which ensures that those who were facing the possibility of eviction from their home have some protection during the crisis. However, since the Practice Direction came into force, property practitioners have been grappling with the possibly unintended consequences that come from its very wide scope. This has been brought into sharp focus by the recent case of University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust v MB [2020] EWHC 882 (QB), in which PD51Z prevented an NHS Trust from obtaining a possession order to facilitate the discharge of a patient from hospital, in circumstances where her bed was needed for critically ill-patients, she was medically fit for discharge, and indeed she would be at less risk of infection from COVID-19 if out of the hospital. As this article explains, the NHS Trust in the UCLH case was able to obtain the relief it needed by the alternative route of an injunction, but the case nevertheless highlights that PD51Z may need to be revisited.’

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Falcon Chambers, 15th April 2020

Source: www.falcon-chambers.com

Coronavirus: Police fine three Londoners over 250-mile camping trip to Wales during lockdown – The Independent

Posted April 20th, 2020 in coronavirus, emergency powers, enforcement, fines, freedom of movement, news by tracey

‘Police in Wales have fined a group of Londoners who were caught camping around 250 miles from the capital during the lockdown.’

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The Independent, 19th April 2020

Source: www.independent.co.uk

The impact of Coronavirus, part 3: the emergency criminal offences – 6KBW College Hill

‘The current pandemic has led to a flood of emergency legislation. This post deals with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 350) made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which supplement the Coronavirus Act 2020. The Regulations are, as is now trite, the strictest control on peacetime life in the modern history of the United Kingdom, and they set out the limits of the “lockdown” and how it is to be enforced. This post aims to set out how the Regulations apply to individuals, and provide some analysis of their contents.’

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6KBW College Hill, 6th April 2020

Source: blog.6kbw.com

UK courts told not to ‘overreact’ during coronavirus crisis – The Guardian

‘Courts must take care not to “overreact in unprecedented times”, a former director of public prosecutions has said, amid concerns that lengthy sentences being imposed during the coronavirus crisis could be excessive.’

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The Guardian, 19th April 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Coronavirus Restrictions: local authority enforcement powers – narrower than you might think – Francis Taylor Building

‘Those venturing to their local park over the weekend probably witnessed an increased presence of police constables, out to enforce the new restrictions on movement and public gatherings. Those restrictions, as well as rules forcing the closure of certain businesses and premises, were introduced on 26 March 2020 by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.’

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Francis Taylor Building, 9th April 2020

Source: www.ftbchambers.co.uk

Local authorities and health bodies handed new permitted development right to deal with COVID-19 emergency – Local Government Lawyer

Posted April 17th, 2020 in coronavirus, emergency powers, enforcement, health, local government, news by sally

‘The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has introduced a new permitted development right for local authorities and certain health service bodies in England to carry out development with a view to tackling the coronavirus emergency.’

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Local Government Lawyer, 14th April 2020

Source: www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk

Lifting The Lockdown: Is A Phone App The Answer? – Each Other

‘With the UK’s coronavirus lockdown extended for three more weeks, some people are looking towards a planned NHS phone app as “holding the key” to easing restrictions. But how realistic is this expectation and could there be unexpected consequences? EachOther examines.’

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Each Other, 16th April 2020

Source: eachother.org.uk

“Pardonable in the Heat of Crisis – building a solid foundation for action” – UK Human Rights Blog

‘In a paper published today Lord Sandhurst QC and Benet Brandret QC follow up on the previous paper co-authored by Lord Sandhurst QC by making concrete proposals for addressing the issues identified previously (see the previous paper here and our post on it here). It sets out a more concluded position on the doubts as to the vires for SI 2020/350 by explaining why the Statutory Instrument is, indeed, ultra vires, and the need for new legislation. It also sets out routes to put legislation and Guidance on a sound footing.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 16th April 2020

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Coronavirus: Hull man jailed for coughing in police officer’s face – BBC News

‘A man has been jailed for coughing in the face of a police officer and claiming he had coronavirus.’

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BBC News, 16th April 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Driving to take a walk is lawful during England lockdown, police told – The Guardian

‘Driving to the countryside and walking – where more time is spent doing the latter than the former – is among a list of reasonable excuses for Britons leaving their home during the coronavirus lockdown, according to advice issued to police.’

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The Guardian, 16th April 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Cremation under coronavirus restrictions – Law & Religion UK

‘As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, a recent indication of the development of funeral practices was given by The Guardian headline “UK councils begin to ban funeral ceremonies due to coronavirus“. Although dated 4 April, changes were being introduced by Leeds City Council as early as 20 March when it was announced that new funeral bookings (in Leeds) would be “cremation only”’ with no attendees.’

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Law & Religion UK, 15th April 2020

Source: www.lawandreligionuk.com

Tom Hickman: Eight ways to reinforce and revise the lockdown law – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and the counterpart regulations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, impose the most drastic restrictions on liberty ever seen in the United Kingdom. On 16 April 2020 they reach their first review point and it is a clear that they will be continued, probably initially for a further period of three weeks and thereafter quite likely for a much longer period either in their current form or in modified form.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 16th April 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Covid-19: Offering blood, toil, tears and sweat: Emergency Volunteers and the Law – Cloisters

‘Over 750,000 volunteers have signed up to the government’s scheme to assist the NHS and social services during the coronavirus outbreak. For those coming from another job, what employment protection do these volunteers have? The Minister introduced this aspect of the emergency legislation, the Coronavirus Act 2020, by saying “The Bill protects the income and the employment status of those who volunteer in the health and social care system. Volunteers will play a critical role in relieving the pressure on frontline clinicians and social care staff”. Sections 8, Schedule 7 and section 9 provide for ‘emergency volunteer leave’ (EVL). In this blog, the seventh in a Covid-19 series, Declan O’Dempsey and Tom Gillie answer the following pressing questions: What is EVL? Who may take it, and what should employers do if staff request to do so? The provisions of the Act are not in force at the time of writing. The situation is however a very fast moving one.’

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Cloisters, 3rd April 2020

Source: www.cloisters.com

Police Powers Under the 2020 Coronavirus Act by Stephen Wood QC – Broadway House Chambers

‘A woman is arrested for loitering at a railway station and ‘prosecuted’ under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The prosecution do not oppose her appeal against conviction to the Crown Court on the basis that she had been prosecuted for an offence not known in law.’

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Broadway House Chambers, 14th April 2020

Source: broadwayhouse.co.uk