Entrepreneur Simon Dolan issues legal proceedings against coronavirus lockdown

A contractor industry veteran who launched a judicial review against the government's coronavirus lockdown has filed over 1,000 pages of legal proceedings at the High Court.

Simon Dolan, an investor and entrepreneur who has set up two eponymous contractor accountancy firms, said yesterday that his lawyers have taken action against two ministers.

In fact, Mr Dolan’s “historic” legal challenge targets health secretary Matt Hancock, who is named on lockdown legislation, and the education secretary who shut schools, Gavin Williamson.

On behalf of the entrepreneur-turned-investor, lawyer Michael Gardner of Wedlake Bell and barristers Philip Havers QC and Francis Hoar, have filed a broadly three-fold claim.

'Too narrow'

First, that the government’s lockdown measures announced by prime minister Boris Johnson on March 23rd are unlawful because they breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Second, that the five tests put in place by the government to gauge when to lift lockdown, including “a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate," are “too narrow.”

And third, that the overall package of measures taken by the government, ranging from shutting non-essential shops like barbers to closing down universities, is “disproportionate.”

'Taking the nation over the cliff-edge'

“It is my name on the claim form, but I sincerely believe this is a claim on behalf of so many businesses, individuals and families,” Mr Dolan said, adding:

“Boris and his crew have sleepwalked into this mess and are taking the nation over the cliff-edge with them.

“Yet people are voting with their feet against lockdown. Just look at the number of people out on the beaches and outside yesterday.”

'Stay home as much as possible'

The Dolan Accountancy boss was speaking after a sunny bank holiday weekend saw temperatures and crowd sizes increase, despite the government's “stay home as much as possible” order.

Supporting his legal campaign, which began in April and should culminate with a court hearing in early June, are 400 crowdfunding supporters who have raised over £144,000.

The founder of SJD Accountancy (which he sold in 2014) implies it could be money very well-spent. “Every day that the lockdown remains in place is one more day the country cannot afford”, Mr Dolan said.

“The chancellor [now] warns of a deep, unparalleled recession [as] the number of people furloughed or unemployed stands at 10 million…and billions are being wiped off the economy with every passing day.”

'No scrutiny, debate or vote'

The accounting boss also said: “The government has spent £13,000 per household on bailout so far. Yet there was no scrutiny, debate or vote on the lockdown laws before they were implemented”.

In line with his charge, Mr Dolan’s legal challenge states that the lockdown due to covid-19 was introduced unlawfully and, he believes, the May 10th relaxations make “little difference.”

“Devastation [is still being] caused by the continuing lockdown,” Mr Dolan argues. “The aim of [my legal] proceedings is to lift the ruinous lockdown, restore the civil liberties taken away from the public and allow schools, healthcare services and the economy to restart.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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