Simon Dolan to appeal Judicial Review decision over Government handling of lockdown

Royal Courts of Justice

Campaigner Simon Dolan is to reignite his lockdown battle with the Government by launching an appeal against the decision denying him permission to bring a Judicial Review over the measures.

The businessman’s Judicial Review attempt was rebuffed by Mr Justice Lewis in a swiftly delivered decision, following an all-day hearing on July 2.

But after consulting with his legal team, he is now appealing the ruling.

He said: “I feel passionately about the rights which lockdown has taken away from everyone and that is why I am appealing.  It cannot be right that the power to take away livelihoods, damage businesses and remove basic freedoms can be exercised by a Government Minister, with no adequate checks or balances.   

“I feel the judgment did not engage with, or consider on any analytical level, the vital issues – issues that affect tens of millions of people – that we set out in the case.

“Neither do I feel the judgment engaged on an appropriate level with the 100s of pages of evidence the legal team put together. It appears incredibly out of touch with the devastating consequences on society.

He added: “The judge suggested the impact on family life was modest as loved-ones could catch up on video calls.

“This is a statement which will not sit well with the millions of families who have been unable to visit elderly relatives and those in care homes.

“Only this week we have read how this lack of contact is feared to have accelerated dementia in sufferers, with it being reported that experts suspect many indirect COVID 19 deaths in care homes were due to lack of contact with loved ones and carers, causing dementia patients to deteriorate.

“We also now know there has been no consistency on political gatherings, which are effectively banned under lockdown. Piers Corbyn, who is a 73-year-old man, will face court in October, just for exercising his rights of free speech at Speaker’s Corner. Yet 1000s of people who have marched on various causes – including BLM – have not faced the same measures.

“Lockdown is not over. Even now, the Government’s “guidance” on what people can or cannot do is at odds with the laws they have enacted. It is so confusing that many even mainstream media have misreported what the restrictions actually are. We are seeing the appalling effects of the Government decisions every day. Life in the UK could be changed forever if we do not act.

“The Government’s barrister argued that our case was now “academic” due to the recent easing of restrictions.

“But the lockdown in Leicester – and any other city which is sent down the same path whenever the Government so chooses – shows that is plainly not the case.

“I believe lockdown should never be allowed to happen again and that – and the support of nearly 7,000 people who have backed my campaign – also drives this appeal.”

Papers formally requesting the appeal will be lodged at the High Court on Monday.

Mr Dolan, who owns or part-owns 10 UK businesses employing 600 people, is represented by Michael Gardner of law firm Wedlake Bell LLP, Philip Havers QC, a barrister and Deputy High Court Judge who specialises in public law, and barrister Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers.

The Crowdjustice campaign behind the Judicial Review has now raised £205,000.