Sarah Everard vigil ban challenged in High Court

On the afternoon of Friday 12 March 2021, the High Court heard an urgent challenge by members of Reclaim These Streets, an organisation planning to hold a gathering on Clapham Common the following day to remember Sarah Everard and all women lost to violence. The Metropolitan Police had banned the gathering, pursuant to the COVID-19 lockdown rules contained in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020) (the “Lockdown Regulations”). The Claimants brought a challenge against the Metropolitan Police’s purported prohibition of all demonstrations and protests, pursuant to the Lockdown Regulations, seeking urgent interim relief in the form of a declaration. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was joined as an Interested Party as the person responsible for the Lockdown Regulations. After hearing submissions, Holgate J refused the application for interim relief. This was on the basis that the Metropolitan Police had apparently changed its stance and accepted that there could be no blanket prohibition on protest irrespective of Articles 10 and 11 ECHR and irrespective of the specific circumstances. The case was reported on the BBC, Sky News and the Independent. Yaaser Vanderman appeared for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

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