Leading barristers at Kings Chambers, including Sam Karim QC, Sarah Clover and Leo Charalambides, along with Dan Rosenberg of Simpson Millar Solicitors were instructed by Jeremy Joseph of G-A-Y, supported by the Night Time Industries Association, and Kirsty McShannon of Azorra Ltd, to challenge the Coronavirus Regulations that introduced the 10pm curfew on hospitality premises in September 2020.
In the judicial review challenge, the Government was required to demonstrate the evidence upon which it based the 10pm curfew, and the Claimant asserted that the curfew was counter-productive in that it concentrated more people together in an environment that was less Covid-secure than allowing people to remain in licensed premises that were actively protecting them from the virus. In a careful evidential report, with analytical contributions by Gui Chipchase, the owner at Alcohol Licensing Solutions, the Government was subjected to a strong challenge on the lack if evidential basis for the Regulations. Shortly afterwards, this topic was repeated widely by the media, which increased the pressure on the Government to change the 10pm curfew.
The first hearing of the judicial review challenge was due on Thursday 3rd December, but on Wednesday 2nd December, the Government introduced further amendments to the Regulations which altered the 10pm curfew to a restriction of last orders at that time, with drinking up time until 11pm. This effectively brought the judicial review to an end. Whilst not the victory for the hospitality industry that had been hoped for, this was an important concession by the Government, not least that the evidential basis for the 10pm curfew did not justify its existence.
It is difficult and onerous for private individuals to bring legal actions against the Government, and yet the publicity and pressure which these actions engender is an important part of the checks and balances to which the politicians and the laws that they create are subjected. Kings Chambers were pleased to be involved in supporting this important challenge.