top of page


Has the Rule of Law been Overlooked?

Thursday 30 April 2020, Webinar 6.00pm

Concerns have been raised whether the Coronavirus Regulations are ultra vires the power under which they were made, whether the Government’s published Guidance has confused what it is now illegal with what is merely undesirable, why the safeguards in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 have not been provided, and the extent to which the restrictions are compatible with Convention rights. The panellists have all published or researched on these questions.


The discussion addressed how Government policies could be implemented on a surer legal foundation.


Sir Bob Neill MP

Chair of the Justice Committee, House of Commons

The role of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Dr Andrew Blick

Reader in Politics and Contemporary History, King's College London, where he is Director of the Centre for British Politics and Government. In 2010–2015, Andrew was research fellow to an inquiry by the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee into whether the UK should adopt a written constitution. He is co-author with Professor Clive Walker of article in the Law Gazette [READ]

The proper statutory route to addressing issues in the regulations 

Benet Brandreth QC

A specialist in intellectual property rights and related areas. Benet is a former member of the Attorney-General’s 'A' Panel of Counsel. He is a member at 11–12 South Square, Gray’s Inn. He is co-author with Lord Sandhurst QC of a SCL recent paper [READ]

Scrutiny of UK covid-19 legislation

Dr Ronan Cormacain

A Senior Research Fellow at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Ronan is leading the Rule of Law Monitoring of Legislation Project. This aim of this project is a systematic analysis of all Government Bills to assess whether they comply with Rule of Law principles. Ronan carried out an initial analysis of the Coronavirus Act here, here and here as it was passing through Parliament.  He questioned the distinction between Covid-19 rules and guidance here , the response in Hungary here, and analysed recent amendments to the coronavirus regulations here.  He is an editor at Theory and Practice of Legislation which is producing a special issue on global legislative responses to the pandemic.  Ronan is also a consultant legislative counsel, drafting legislation on behalf of parliamentarians and governments.

Whether certain regulations may be ultra vires

Robert Craig

Tutor in law at Bristol University, currently pursuing a PhD considering the role of the Royal Prerogative in the modern UK constitution and teaching UK Constitutional Law. Robert focuses on Public Law with an emphasis on constitutional law and legal philosophy. He has been cited in two recent Supreme Court constitutional law decisions, Miller I (2017) and Privacy International (2019). He is author of a paper Lockdown: A Response to Professor King [READ]

The incompatibility of the current regime with the ECHR

Francis Hoar

A barrister at Field Court Chambers, Gray’s Inn; a leading election lawyer who also increasingly focuses on constitutional cases. In 2019, Francis acted in two constitutional cases concerning the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. He is author on the Coronavirus regulations and the ECHR [READ]

Refinements to place the regulations on a more secure legal footing

Rachel Jones

A barrister at Blackstone Chambers, having previously worked for JUSTICE.  Rachel is co-author with Tom Hickman QC and Emma Dixon of articles on Coronavirus and civil liberties in the UK [READ] and the lockdown restrictions [READ]


The importance of consistency in government guidance

Lord Sandhurst QC

Guy practised from One Crown Office Row under his family name as Guy Mansfield QC; he was Chair of the Bar Council in 2005. He was a contributor to Human Rights and Common Law (Hart Publishing 2000). He has recently co-authored the two SCL papers on the regulations surrounding the coronavirus crisis, the first of which with Anthony Speaight QC [HERE].

bottom of page