Covid 19 - Judicial review brought by Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond Refused

04 May

In our most recent Propel Legal Article: 'Open but fighting for justice' we undertook a legal analysis of the Judicial review brought by Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond as to the legality of the differential opening dates for indoor hospitality and retail.

Overnight the High Court judge released his decision which unfortunately repeated in part the decisions of the previous reviews-in essence the time it had taken to bring the case thorough the system meant that any decision by the court would be “academic” as it would not arrive until after the 17th May.

The primary arguments raised in the case were:-

  • there was no justification or scientific basis for indoor hospitality to be kept closed for five weeks after non-essential retailers in England could serve customers indoors from 12 April.
  • about 60% of hospitality venues did not have outdoor space
  • Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), published on 30 April, which stated that the risks of “transmission in hospitality, retail and leisure are relatively low”.

In a response to the press Osmond told the Manchester Evening News: “This case is not ‘academic’ for an industry that is losing £200m every day it remains closed, for the over three million people who work in our industry, or for the tens of thousands of businesses, suppliers, landlords and contractors forced into bankruptcy by government measures.

This is without another bitter blow for all operators who hoped for a slightly earlier return to indoor trading, which in view of the weather forecast for the next few days may have achieved for them some income for event those with an outdoor area.

When the full judgement is released, we will review as to whether there is anything further which can be gained from the determination and used going forward.

Law correct at the date of publication.
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