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10 November 2021

Bindmans LLP instructed by Big Brother Watch to challenge Welsh Covid-19 passes

2 mins

Bindmans LLP has been instructed by the campaigning organisation, Big Brother Watch, to send a pre-action letter to the Welsh government, pursuant to the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review, challenging their decision to impose mandatory Covid-19 passes in Wales.

The basis of the challenge is that the Welsh government has not provided any sufficient evidence for the decision to introduce Covid-19 passes. In addition, advice from SAGE and the Welsh Technical Advisory Cell issued before the introduction of the scheme, cast doubts on its efficacy and impact. In the absence of supporting evidence, the scheme constitutes an unnecessary and disproportionate infringement on the privacy rights of the public in Wales, which are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Silkie Carlo, Director at Big Brother Watch, said:

Covid IDs don’t tell you that a person doesn’t have Covid or can’t spread Covid, but do make society less free and less accessible for people. Within weeks, this mandatory health ID scheme has already been significantly expanded in absence of an evidence base. This is safety theatre that does nothing for public health but unfairly burdens businesses and excludes citizens.

There are far more proportionate, effective and inclusive measures to keep people safe and get the country back to normal than excluding healthy people without the right health papers from society. But we can never get back to anything like normal with health ID checks that will inevitably continue to expand.

Shirin Marker, Solicitor at Bindmans who is representing Big Brother Watch, said:

It is very troubling that the Welsh government has introduced and expanded this scheme in the absence of any publicly available evidence to support the measure, and despite scientific advice from the UK government’s own advisers raising questions about its utility.

We hope that the Welsh government will withdraw the scheme which, in the absence of any supporting evidence, constitutes a disproportionate interference with the privacy rights of the public.

Big Brother Watch is represented by Shirin Marker and John Halford of Bindmans LLP.

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