Dolan 'delighted' as covid-19 legal challenge gets the go-ahead

Persistence has paid off for contractor accountant turned entrepreneur Simon Dolan, as the Court of Appeal has said his legal challenge against covid-19 lockdown should be heard.

Despite the High Court blocking the challenge, Lord Justice Hickinbottom found lockdown measures do raise “fundamental issues” over the accountability of government ministers.

The senior appeal court judge also ruled that the government’s measures “impose possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever”.

'Delighted'

These two sections of the ruling were pointed to Mr Dolan yesterday, when asked what he believes swung the judge’s decision about proceeding with the legal challenge in his favour.

But Lord Justice Hickinbottom only granted permission for the Judicial Review to proceed to a rolled-up hearing, and judges there will decide if the case should progress to a full appeal.

Nonetheless, Mr Dolan is far from disappointed. “I am delighted our legal challenge will progress to the next stage.”

'Serious imposition'

He also said: “The government’s decision to unilaterally lockdown the United Kingdom marks the most serious imposition on personal freedoms in recent history.

“With the possibility of these restrictions being re-imposed looming over all our heads, it is only right that the government is held to account and the legality of its actions questioned.”

In the judgment, Lord Justice Hickinbottom seemed to agree, saying one reason the legal challenge should proceed is that “substantial restrictions on public life remain in place.”

'I am persuaded'

“And it is possible that further restrictions will be (re)imposed in the future,” he ruled.

“Therefore, I am persuaded that the grounds should be considered in full court by the open court.”

The judge was referring to Mr Dolan’s first hearing being virtual, whereas the incoming open hearing offers “an opportunity to make good” his case “at least on arguability,” the CoA said.

'Ministers fumbling their way'

And the entrepreneur sounds more than ready for the face-to-face.

“In recent months, we have seen government ministers fumble their way through decision after decision,” he said, “without adequate parliamentary scrutiny and due care and attention for the socio-economic impact their measures have had.”

The boss of Dolan Accountancy, who also owns or part-owns nine other UK businesses employing a total of 600 staff added: “That is why I am also calling on the government to ensure that schools return to normal come September.

“No blended learning, no social bubbles, and no face masks, it is time that the government consider the devastating impact that its [coronavirus] policies have had on children’s mental health and get them back learning.”

'Tirelessly continue'

Scheduled for the week commencing September 29th, the rolled-up hearing to determine if the case should progress to a full appeal will likely be held at the Court of Appeal in London.

“Our economy and citizens cannot afford another U-turn by this government,” Mr Dolan said, ahead of the hearing which will see the government forced to defend the introduction of the lockdown measures. “I will tirelessly continue to press for a return to a normal way of life, as soon as possible.”

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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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