A crowd-funded challenge to the UK lockdown restrictions has been given permission to apply for judicial review on appeal. The challenge, launched by Simon Dolan, a British businessman currently residing in Monaco and founder of the ‘Keep Britain Free’ Movement’, accuses the government of acting irrationally and disproportionately. In his grounds of review, pleaded by Philip Havers QC, Dolan further sets out that the lockdown restrictions constitute a breach the Human Rights Act 1998, in particular the right to liberty and security enjoyed under Article 5, and the right to respect for private and family life enjoyed under Article 8.
The case was initially refused permission to proceed in the High Court by Lewis J, who maintained in his judgment that the grounds argued for by the claimant were either academic or unarguable. In a ruling handed down from the Court of Appeal; however, Hickinbottom LJ chose to grant permission to review, highlighting the importance of ‘possibly the most restrictive regime on the public life of persons and businesses ever’ being challenged in open court. The hearing will be live-streamed to allow anyone with an interest in the case to be able to follow it live.
A fundraiser for the challenge has now surpassed its £250,000 target, with over 8,347 pledges from sympathetic donees. Dolan’s case joins a number of prominent judicial reviews made possible by fundraising platform Crowdjustice. Recently, barrister Allison Bailey has used the platform to raise over £60,000 for a claim against Stonewall and Garden Court chambers jointly in the employment tribunal, before her page was taken down after complaints regarding the content of her fundraiser. Common across challenges made possible by Crowdjustice is the ability of the litigant to utilise the popularity of an issue on social media to obtain funding; Dolan’s ‘Keep Britain Free’ Twitter page has over thirteen thousand followers, and his website invites people to ‘join the movement’, linking to the Crowdjustice page.
The hearing is set to take place on September 28.