Hotel quarantine legal bid is BLOCKED by High Court judge

Legal bid seeking to challenge hotel quarantining for travellers returning to the UK from red list countries is BLOCKED by High Court judge

  • A High Court judge has blocked a legal challenge against hotel quarantine
  • Three people challenged scheme for those returning to UK from red list nations
  • Under the scheme, these people must spend 10 days in a hotel regardless of vaccination status
  • Bid was blocked as the scheme ‘satisfies the rigours of the standards of necessity and proportionality’ 

A bid to challenge the hotel quarantine scheme for people returning to the UK from red list countries has been blocked by a High Court judge.

On Thursday, three people brought a bid for a full hearing to challenge the Government’s quarantine requirements for people travelling from red list countries.

Under the managed hotel quarantine scheme, travellers from countries on the red list – which currently stands at 11 nations – must spend ten days in a hotel regardless of vaccination status.

Jamie Burton QC, representing the three claimants, argued the scheme deprived the travellers of their liberty and was in breach of their human rights.

On Thursday, three people brought a bid for a full hearing to challenge the Government’s quarantine requirements for people travelling from red list countries (stock image)

In written submissions, he said: ‘It is at least arguable that being required by law to occupy a guarded hotel room with less than an hour’s pre-approved guarded exercise per day, with no possibility of association except with those in your room, and under the threat of severe criminal sanctions for non-compliance, is a deprivation of liberty.’

Mr Burton added that under the scheme travellers do not choose the hotel they must stay in or how they get there.

He told the High Court: ‘The managed hotel quarantine scheme applies to everybody … This is about people returning home to their homes and to their families.

‘It is not apt to describe this as some sort of free choice.’

Following the hearing on Thursday afternoon, Mr Justice Fordham (pictured) refused the bid for a full challenge at the High Court, finding the claim was not arguable and the scheme ‘satisfies the rigours of the standards of necessity and proportionality’.

‘This issue needs to be looked at once and for all and determined properly,’ Mr Burton concluded.

Julia Smyth, for the Department of Health and Social Care, said the scheme was proportionate.

‘There have been travel restrictions in some form or another since the start of the pandemic. The Government’s concern is about variants,’ she said.

The barrister said the Government advises against travel to red list countries, adding: ‘In other words, ‘don’t travel but okay, if you do travel, there is a consequence’.’

She continued: ‘It is unarguable, it is unrealistic to submit that this system of being required to buy a package and stay in a hotel is a depravation of liberty.’

Ms Smyth added that while the quarantine system was a restriction of liberty, it was proportionate and necessary for the aims of safeguarding public health, particularly against variants that may have vaccine-evading properties.

A hearing was held at the High Court (pictured) earlier today regarding a bid lodged by three people to challenge the hotel quarantine scheme

Following the hearing on Thursday afternoon, Mr Justice Fordham refused the bid for a full challenge at the High Court, finding the claim was not arguable and the scheme ‘satisfies the rigours of the standards of necessity and proportionality’.

He later said: ‘It must be relevant that there is an element of choice on the part of the individuals who travel to red list countries and then come back from them.’

Following the ruling, Tom Goodhead, managing partner at PGMBM representing the claimants, said they planned to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

He said: ‘We consider the hotel quarantine policy to be a fundamental breach of people’s human rights.

‘Law-abiding citizens who have been double vaccinated and tested negative should be free from hotel quarantine.

‘The idea that they need to pay for the privilege of their own imprisonment is outrageous.’

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