Lockdown Laws and Human Rights – 10 Important Lessons During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Speaker: Nasir Hafezi
Chambers: Robert Lizar Solicitors

Importance of Human Rights
 To place duties on Government, first and second responders
 To reign in excessive use of powers
 To ensure people know the light and day of the laws around them

Human Rights and Laws
 Article 7 (no punishment without law)
 Article 8 (the right to respect for privacy and family life),
 Article 9 (freedom of religion)
 Article 11 (freedom of association).

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulation 2020

LESSON 1 – CRITICAL MINDS ARE NEEDED IN TIMES OF AN EMERGENCY
 Be bold to criticise laws,
 Unafraid to suggest recommendations,
 And unconcerned about the backlash.

LESSON 2 – THE NEED FOR PUBLIC AND PARLIAMENTARY SCRUTINY
A number of foreseeable adverse consequences from a lack of scrutiny.

LESSON 3 – GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS NEED TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE LAW
 PM announcement – 23 March 2020
 Regulation issued – 26 March 2020
 Article 7 ECHR and common law principle states that there is no punishment without law.

LESSON 4 – MAJOR GOV ANNOUNCEMENTS MUST MATCH THE LAWS THEY PASS
The PM 23 March 2020 – announcing the lockdown
‘’That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;

LESSON 5 – LAWS NEED TO BE PASSED WHICH HAVE LEGAL CERTAINTY CONCERNING – PREMISES
Regulation lack legal certainty because they
 Were poorly drafted in parts and were confusing –
 were muddied by Ministerial and police statements which resulted in several adverse consequences.

Example – visiting cemeteries
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 in force on 22 April 2020
 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 22 April 2020
 Reg 5(8) ‘’A person who is responsible for a crematorium must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium is closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials.’’
LESSON 6 – LAWS NEED TO BE PASSED WHICH HAVE LEGAL CERTAINTY CONCERNING – RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT
 6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.
LESSON 7 – LAWS NEED TO BE PASSED WHICH HAVE LEGAL CERTAINTY – GATHERINGS
 Restrictions on gatherings
 7. During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two

Advice not law – 2 metres
LESSON 8 – IMPORTANT THAT POLICE UNDERSTAND THE LAW PASSED
1. Police officers use the wrong law to prosecute individuals.
2. Police officers fail to understand the exceptions contained within the law
3. A law enforcement approach which can be described as absolutist literalist or what reports refer to overzealousness policing, which impacts on police and community relations.

Over zealous policing
Exercise
Derbyshire Police force came under some criticism for initial use of drones to highlight people exercising away from their homes in the Peak District by saying that the “emergency laws were unclear’

LESSON 9 – ENFORCEMENT POWERS SHOULD COME WITH A POLICE CODE
Enforcement Powers Reg 8
Restrictions on movement

Powers to break up gatherings of three or more people in contravention of regulation

PROSECUTIONS – REG 9 AND 10

NEW OFFENCES/FIXED PENALTY NOTICES
College of Policing
A graduated response to breaches
LESSON 10 – LAWS SHOULD BE THE SAME THROUGHOUT UK
10 May 2020 – from Stay at home to Stay Alert
PM ‘You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them’’
Social distancing – 2mtres not law advice
Exercise and open spaces – Reg 6(2)(b) and (ba) 13 May 2020
Exercise

7 very important points

You can contact Nasir Hazezi on
nhafezi@robertlizar.com

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