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London law firm challenges UK quarantine
Pic: Shutterstock

12 Aug 2021 / covid-19 Print

London law firm challenges UK quarantine on human-rights grounds

A London-based law firm is seeking a judicial review of the British Government’s policy on mandatory hotel quarantine.

Under the current rules, people returning to the UK from ’red-list’ countries must spend 10 days in hotel quarantine, even if they are fully vaccinated in the UK and have tested negative for COVID-19 on their return.

PGMBM describes the policy as an “unlawful deprivation of liberty”, and a violation of fundamental human rights.

Refunds

The law firm, which is representing several travellers, is seeking compensation that it says could run into “tens of millions of pounds”.

It says the government could also be forced to refund the fees of all those who have been already forced to quarantine in hotels, despite having been double-vaccinated.

Earlier this year, in the first phase of the judicial review, PGMBM forced the government to allow those facing financial hardship to pay the costs of quarantine in instalments.

“Mandatory hotel quarantine is a fundamental breach of human rights,” says PGMBM managing partner Tom Goodhead.

“It has led to the false imprisonment of people who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative.”

Costs rise

He adds that other European countries with similar schemes – such as Ireland – have changed them so that fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine.

Goodhead says that many of the people getting in touch with his firm are travelling to ‘red-list’ countries for emergency or urgent reasons, and not for holidays or leisure.

The cost of quarantining, for a single adult, has risen from today (12 August) to £2,285 from £1,750.

The BBC quoted a government source as saying that "every essential check we've introduced has strengthened our defences against the risk of new coronavirus variants."

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland